Leading article: More shareholder revolts, please

 

Share
Related Topics

Shareholders are becoming bolder – and a welcome, if belated, development that is, too.

The most damning verdict came from shareholders at the insurance giant Aviva, 54 per cent of whom voted down the company's remuneration policies, including the pay package for the chief executive, Andrew Moss, who was then urged to accompany the departing chairman out of the door. But Aviva shareholders have not been alone in staging revolts against well-rewarded executives this week, during a tempestuous annual meeting season.

Such major companies as Inmarsat, Premier Foods, Carillion and Reckitt Benckiser all suffered shareholder insurrections, albeit smaller ones, on the same day, with Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror media group, resigning rather than face a revolt over her bonus. UBS, Citigroup, Barclays and AstraZeneca are among other big names whose pay policies have fallen foul of a substantial proportion – though not a majority – of shareholders.

What is less satisfactory, of course, is that such votes are advisory rather than binding, so that the companies – Aviva included – can proceed regardless. The harsh truths that are being aired at many of these meetings, however, should give the companies pause before they next approve pay packages that look overgenerous when set against performance. Few would begrudge substantial rewards, when top management has patently excelled, but these are rewards that shareholders – as owners, after all – are entitled to expect a part of. And if performance has fallen short, then the rewards for everyone must be curbed accordingly.

Thus baldly put, that principle sounds obvious – except that during the boom years shareholders lost their bite. So when the lean years came along, it was left to sections of the media and the Occupy campaigners to vent the widespread public fury about "fat cat" pay. One way to address the problem – for it clearly is a problem – would be regulation limiting top pay in relation to profits or other salaries. Far preferable, though, would be for the company owners themselves to judge what is affordable. Shareholders have the power; they should use it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...