LONDON Feb 7 British travel firm Thomas Cook
said investors holding almost 30 percent of its stock
voted against its remuneration report on Thursday, in a sign
that shareholder anger over soaring executive earnings has not
A large number of investors in British companies registered
their disapproval of executive pay during the 2012 annual
meetings season, an episode known as the 'shareholder spring'.
The significant vote against the salaries of executives at
Thomas Cook, one of the first big British companies to hold its
annual general meeting in 2013, suggests the investor backlash
against pay has not gone away.
Last year, it cost Aviva boss Andrew Moss, and Sly
Bailey, then head of newspaper group Trinity Mirror
their jobs, and there were also significant votes against
management pay packages at companies such as advertising agency
WPP and insurer Prudential.
Thomas Cook, the world's oldest travel group, said its
remuneration report was approved by 70.3 percent of votes cast,
while 29.7 percent voted against the resolution.
The company has issued a string of profit warnings and has
been forced to renegotiate bank loans but has also seen a steady
improvement in its finances since travel industry outsider
Harriet Green took over as chief executive last May.
"The board believes that the progress made by the company
under the new leadership team and the very substantial
shareholder value generated over the past six months fully
justifies the remuneration decisions," Thomas Cook said in a
The remuneration report, as detailed in the company's 2012
annual report, stated that Green received an annual salary rate
of 680,000 pounds ($1.1 million) in 2012 with a maximum annual
bonus equal to 225 percent of her base salary for July 2012 to
September 2013. It said the bonus payable will be decided at the
end of the period.
From the end of September onwards, her maximum bonus will
shrink to 150 percent of base salary.
Thomas Cook said the higher initial bonus was designed to
incentivise her to carry out the company's transformation plan.
Details of pay for Michael Healy, the new chief financial
officer who was also appointed in May, were also published in
the remuneration report.
He was paid an annual salary rate of 480,000 pounds in 2012
with the possibility of earning a maximum bonus of 150 percent
of his pay. The company said it paid him a bonus equivalent to
6.25 percent of his 2012 pay.
Investors warned last year that the days of company
resolutions being rubber-stamped were over, and Britain's
business secretary said last year the government planned to
legislate to give shareholders the power to reject company
director pay deals.