The level of shareholder frustration and anger at Persimmon’s huge executive bonus payouts was made clear at its AGM, with the majority either voting against or abstaining from signing off its remuneration resolution.
Persimmon has been making headlines about its governance, after an unfettered bonus scheme introduced in 2012 saw big payouts for management members, with CEO Jeff Fairburn due to receive tens of millions of pounds—a figure he then chose to cap at £75m after criticism of the payout.
The resolution saw 51.48% in favour of the 2017/18 remuneration package, with 48.52% voting against. However, a further 23% of shareholders abstained from the non-binding vote.
Chairman Nicholas Wrigley and remuneration committee chairman Jonathan Davie quit in December over the bonus scheme.
A statement by shareholder Aberdeen Standard Investments’ head of stewardship Euan Stirling, and referenced by The Times, stated that the reduction in Fairburn’s bonus “does not even get close to acceptable”.
“Today’s remuneration results suggest that the executive directors at Persimmon have lost sight of that because the long-term success of the company is being endangered by the reputational damage associated with grossly excessive pay,” he stated.
Stirling added that the motivation for company directors must go beyond “amassing a fortune”, and consider the company’s standing and impact in a broader sense.
Fairburn has previously stated that the incentives set in the bonus scheme had been a “significant factor” in the housebuilder’s “outstanding” performance.
Steve Morgan, chairman of rival builder Redrow, had said the bonus payouts were “very, very wrong” and “sticks in the craw”.