Barrick Say-on-Pay Plan Faces ‘No’ Vote From Fourth Pension Fund

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s largest pension fund manager, will vote against Barrick Gold Corp.’s executive compensation plan at a shareholders’ meeting next week.

CPPIB joins three other pension funds planning to vote against executive salaries at Barrick. The April 28 vote is non-binding, though strong opposition to the so-called say-on-pay proposal will deliver a message to the company, the pension fund said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

“We believe the company continues to inadequately address key shareholder concerns related to its chair’s compensation,” CPPIB said in the statement. “We continue to be concerned with the company’s practice of granting outsized awards on a largely discretionary basis, which we believe is inconsistent with the governance principle of pay-for-performance.”

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, British Columbia Investment Management Corp. and PGGM of the Netherlands have also said they will cast their advisory ballots against Barrick’s executive pay proposal.

Barrick unveiled four board nominees in January 2014 and announced the retirement of founder Peter Munk as chairman after pension funds questioned the board’s independence.

The compensation of John Thornton, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker who succeeded Munk as chairman, is a particular focus of the funds’ criticism of Barrick.

Thornton’s $13 million in pay is twice as much as the next-best-paid executive in his industry, Peter Marrone, chairman and CEO of Toronto-based Yamana Gold Inc., according to Gregory Elders, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

CPPIB held 394,260 shares of Barrick, or about 0.03 percent of its outstanding stock, as of Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg

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