Burberry Shareholders Vote Against CEO Pay

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In another sign of the growing discontent among shareholders regarding excessive executive compensation at major firms, Burberry Group plc (LON:BRBY) (OTCMKTS:BURBY) investors voted on Friday, July 11th, to reject a multimillion pound compensation package for new chief exec Christopher Bailey.

The vote taken Friday was non-binding on the firm’s BoD, but it was another sign that shareholders are getting more and more fed up over very high executive salaries.

53% voted against Bailey’s pay package.

Almost 53% of Burberry Group plc (LON:BRBY) (OTCMKTS:BURBY)’s shareholders voted against Bailey’s pay package in the vote at Friday’s annual general meeting.

Bailey took over from the popular Angela Ahrendts (who left for Apple) in May, and also held on to his title as chief designer. When he signed on as CEO, Bailey received a one-time award of 500,000 Burberry shares worth some 7 million pounds ($12 million), and also receives 1.1 million pounds ($1.9 million) in salary, and bonuses up to double the salary as well as cash allowances.

After the vote, Burberry Group plc (LON:BRBY) (OTCMKTS:BURBY) Chairman John Peace commented he was disappointed and he planned to speak to investors to address their concerns.

Bailey Replaced Angela Ahrendts in May

British-born Bailey has been an employee of Burberry since 2001, and chief creative officer since 2007, said he was “profoundly moved and humbled to be asked to take on the CEO role”.

At the time, Burberry BoD chairman John Peace called the appointment of Bailey, 42, “a natural progression”.

Wall Street trying to ignore shareholder ire

Although shareholder rebellions against high exec pay are still relatively rare, the compensation packages for Fortune 500 company execs have gotten so high that a few groups of shareholders have actually struck back.

In another non-binding vote, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) shareholders voted against the pay packages of co-chief execs Steve Ells and Monty Moran, who took home around $25 million each last year.

Another high-profile case back in April 2012 involved then Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) CEO Vikram Pandit, whose $15 million total compensation package was also rejected by shareholders.

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