The size and frequency of substantial protest votes against remuneration in Europe, particularly in the U.K., have risen to a level never seen before, and only exceeded by shareholder activism in the U.S. In a movement that has been dubbed a “shareholder spring”, corporations have experienced more pay protest than at any time in the past. Many of the region’s largest corporations have received a significant amount of votes against remuneration plans with many others failing to win a majority of shareholder support. In addition, a number of initiatives in Europe indicate that executive pay remains at the top of the regulatory, legislative and shareholder agenda.
Some of the findings of this report include:
- 24 companies in Western Europe received a significant vote against their pay plans as of the date of the initial data analysis, July 20
- the average “against” vote in this group was 40% and the median was 34%
- some companies are dealing with protest votes for two years running, such as easyJet plc and WPP, while one company, UBS, has seen pay unrest for at least three years
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