Investors advised to vote against disproportionate pay packets
GVC is facing rebellion from shareholders after the ‘excessively disproportionate’ amount of £67m was paid to two of its bosses. The payouts were included in the terms of GVC’s takeover of Ladbrokes Coral last year.
Chief executive, Kenny Alexander, has been awarded £45m in share options since 2016, whilst chairman, Larry Feldman, has picked up share options worth another £22.5m.
Investors are being advised by the shareholder advice bodies Pirc and Glass Lewis, to vote against the pay report at the company’s annual meeting in Gibraltar next week. Glass Lewis described Alexander’s pay as ‘excessively disproportionate’. His pay, which hit £19.4m in 2016, is about 550 times that earned by average employees.
Luke Hildyard, Director of the remuneration think tank the High Pay Centre, described GVC’s decision to continue to award such large pay packers as outrageous, especially considering that 45% of investors failed to support the company’s pay policy at its AGM last year.
“Clearly they’ve completely disregarded the strong vote against last year and are continuing with a similar approach to pay,” Hildyard said. “You’d hope that there will be an even stronger vote against this year.”
However, Hildyard pointed out that such votes are only advisory in nature, with investors only entitled to a vote on company pay policies once every three years.
“This case demonstrates that even when shareholders do oppose egregious awards, which doesn’t happen often enough; the company doesn’t have to do anything about it.”
GVC shareholders notionally waved through the payouts because they were included in the terms of its £3.2bn takeover of Ladbrokes Coral last year, which won overwhelming support from investors.
GVC, a FTSE 250 company with its headquarters on the Isle of Man but mainly operating from Gibraltar, will hold its annual meeting on 6th June.