Friday September 5,2014 : SHAREHOLDERS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH EXECUTIVE BONUSES AT BETFAIR
A third of shareholders vote against allegedly excessive bonus deals.
Betfair's very creditable Q1-2015 performance results this week have been overshadowed by reports in major UK newspapers that many of the company's shareholders are uncomfortable with the generous pay and bonus deals doled out to top executives.
The Guardian newspaper reported Friday that a third of shareholders in the online betting firm have voted against pay and bonus deals for chief executive Breon Corcoran, who apparently stands to score a bonus of up to 380 percent of his salary.
The dissatisfaction appears to have been triggered ahead of the company's agm by criticism from the corporate governance group Pirc, which described Betfair's performance benchmarks as "not adequate" and suggested share rewards were released too quickly.
The independent body also opined that Betfair's chief executive's pay "…is not considered in line with the company's financial performance over the last five years."
According to the Betfair annual report, Corcoran's pay package was worth GBP 1.28 million for 2014…down from GBP 3.7 million the previous year, when he joined the business. But his 2013 pay deal was boosted by a "golden hello" of restricted share awards and payments to cover his relocation from Ireland.
Pirc recommended a binding vote against Betfair's boardroom pay policy, but investors chose a milder protest by complaining to the chairman of the Betfair board, giving the results of a vote on the resolution.
The results of the poll showed that 24 million shares are against Betfair's executive remuneration report, but a further 2.2 million shares were abstentions, indicating disapproval of the report.
The Board would be wise to pay attention to the complaint; last year, only 4.6 percent of shareholders voted against the pay report.