- The boards of BAE Systems, AstraZeneca, Glencore, Flutter Entertainment and the London Stock Exchange all face shareholder revolts over executive pay at their upcoming annual general meetings (AGMs).
- As companies commit to greater automation of many roles, it’s pertinent to ask whether a company needs a CEO at all.
- If a CEO is as costly to a company as thousands of workers, it is surely a prime candidate for robot-induced redundancy.
Will Dunn from NewStateman writes:
“Over the next two weeks, the boards of BAE Systems, AstraZeneca, Glencore, Flutter Entertainment and the London Stock Exchange all face the possibility of shareholder revolts over executive pay at their forthcoming annual general meetings (AGMs). As the AGM season begins, there is a particular focus on pay.
Executive pay is often the most contentious item at an AGM, but this year is clearly exceptional. The people running companies that have been severely impacted by Covid-19 can’t be blamed for the devastation of their revenues by the pandemic, but they also can’t take credit for the government stimulus that has kept them afloat. Last week, for example, nearly 40 per cent of shareholders in the estate agents Foxtons voted against its chief executive officer, Nicholas Budden, receiving a bonus of just under £1m; Foxtons has received about £7m in direct government assistance and is benefiting from the government’s continued inflation of the housing market. The person who has done most to ensure Foxtons’ ongoing good fortune is not Nicholas Budden but Rishi Sunak.
Under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, executive pay is voted on at least every three years, and this process forces shareholders and the public to confront how much the people at the top take home. Tim Steiner, the highest-paid CEO in the FTSE 100, was paid £58.7m in 2019 for running Ocado, which is 2,605 times the median income of his employees for that year, while the average FTSE100 CEO makes more than £15,000 a day.
As the High Pay Centre’s annual assessment of CEO pay points out, a top-heavy wage bill extends beyond the CEO, and could be unsustainable for any company this year. “When one considers high earners beyond the CEO”, says the report, ”there is actually quite significant potential for companies to safeguard jobs and incomes by asking higher-paid staff to make sacrifices”.
In the longer term, as companies commit to greater automation of many roles, it’s pertinent to ask whether a company needs a CEO at all…”
See full story here.