Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca received a warning shot from shareholders when almost 40% voted against the company’s annual remuneration report.
The vote at yesterday’s annual general meeting saw 38.83% of shareholders oppose the report. The Times reported that it was the largest shareholder rebellion since Pascal Soriot became chief executive in 2012.
Soriot’s pay rose by 70% last year, to £13.4m.
However, 96% of shareholders backed the company’s new remuneration policy yesterday, indicating satisfaction with AstraZeneca’s current approach.
A statement from the company after the meeting said: “AstraZeneca engaged extensively with its major shareholders on remuneration matters during 2016 and the Remuneration Committee’s proposals were based on shareholder feedback.
“AstraZeneca notes that its major shareholders exercised their independent judgement following this consultation, with the majority of them voting in favour of the Remuneration Report.
“The lower level of support for the Remuneration Report is considered to reflect concerns regarding how the AstraZeneca Investment Plan (AZIP) will be operated for the outstanding AZIP awards previously made, and the level of information given about the annual bonus plan and awards. AstraZeneca’s Remuneration Committee will continue the dialogue with shareholders, as appropriate, regarding any concerns following its AGM.”