Shareholders of Morrisons have voted against a salary raise for the company’s executives.
More than two-thirds of Morrisons shareholders voted against the supermarket’s idea to reward top executives with large bonuses after excluding the £290 million cost of dealing with Covid-19 from incentive calculations.
At the retailer’s annual general meeting in Bradford today, 70.12 percent of shareholders voted against its remuneration report.
Morrisons announced in its annual report that despite profits falling £165 million from £435 million the previous year, chief executive David Potts will get the maximum £1.7 million bonus.
After removing the expense of the epidemic from the equation when determining whether a bonus was acceptable, the firm’s boardroom committee increased the chief’s salary.
Mr Potts received a total compensation package of £4.2 million, including the bonus.
The store acknowledged the “huge majority” vote against the wage deal on Thursday, but defended the board’s decision.
Morrisons said in a statement, “In the Committee’s opinion, Morrisons performed extraordinarily well for the country during the first year of Covid, with the executives generally recognized for their leadership, clarity, decisiveness, compassion, and speed of decision-making and implementation.”
“In these circumstances, the remuneration committee felt it was appropriate to use some discretion in the compensation of top executives.
“The committee expresses its profound sorrow for not being able to persuade a majority of shareholders – or proxy voting agents – that this was the best course of action.
“The committee looks forward to re-engaging with shareholders, listening to their perspectives, and once again making the case for why discretion was exercised in a truly extraordinary year that delivered a truly remarkable performance from the senior leadership,” said the committee.
Morrisons reported last month that revenues grew in the most recent quarter as pandemic restrictions kept supermarket sales high.
According to the company, sales increased 2.7 percent on a like-for-like basis in the 14 weeks ending May 9, excluding gasoline.
The outcry from investors comes a year after more than a third of investors voted against the company’s pay policy. (This is a brief piece.)