Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Royal London Adds to Pressure on Executive Pay at Burberry

Updated on
  • Shareholder to vote against pay report and committee chairman
  • Joins Investment Association and ISS in concerns over pay

Burberry Group Plc’s executive pay practices have drawn a protest from shareholder Royal London Asset Management, which said it would heed calls from investor advisory groups to vote against the company’s remuneration report.

Royal London will also vote against the re-election of Chairman John Peace and the head of the trenchcoat maker’s remuneration committee, Fabiola Arredondo, at its annual meeting on Thursday, the fund manager said in an emailed statement. Burberry declined to comment.

John Peace

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Christopher Bailey

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

“The chaotic response to several remuneration issues” this year heightened concerns about the company’s corporate governance, Royal London’s corporate governance manager Ashley Hamilton Claxton said in the statement. Concerns focus on pay awards to Burberry’s former Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey, who remains its creative chief, and Chief Financial Officer Julie Brown.

Advisory groups Institutional Shareholder Services and the Investment Association have urged shareholders to vote against Burberry’s pay report at the AGM. Each group advises as much as 25 percent of the shareholder base of some large U.K. companies.

Royal London’s decision to vote against the re-election of Peace stems from concern over the company’s reporting structure following the appointment of Marco Gobbetti as CEO. The investor is unhappy that both Gobbetti and Bailey will report to Peace, which it says “creates further uncertainty and governance risks for investors.”

Royal London holds 33 million pounds ($42.5 million) worth of Burberry’s shares, equal to a 0.5 percent stake.

(Updates with company response in second paragraph.)
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