Investors in the U.K. are up in arms about the excesses they perceive public company executives are indulging in. Described as a “shareholder rebellion” by the Wall Street Journal, a succession of companies are seeing their pay plans voted down at annual meetings.
The “uprising” began in April when the CEO of Barclays PLC was asked by some board members to forgo his bonus this year. Bank boss Bob Diamond did not think that was a good idea and declined the pay cut. When shareholders heard about this, they loudly endorsed this move since the bank’s stock had lost 25% of its value during the previous year.
Diamond was given a £6.3 million compensation package. “Some directors feel Mr. Diamond and his inner circle are out of touch with popular sentiment when it comes to pay,” the article’s authors wrote.
With five years of falling stock prices at insurance company Aviva, their third largest investor objected to the pay of CEO who was slated to earn £2.69 million. At a shareholder meeting in early May there was popular agreement that Moss was being overpaid for his efforts, spurring his resignation days later.
Shareholder protests also forced the PLC CEO to resign over pay excesses. “The ferocity of dissent this spring surprised many executives and board members,” according to the report.