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UK grocer Morrisons' pay policy opposed by 35% of AGM votes - Metro US

UK grocer Morrisons’ pay policy opposed by 35% of AGM votes

FILE PHOTO: A Morrisons supermarket is seen in Weybridge

LONDON (Reuters) – British supermarket group Morrisons <MRW.L> said it would engage with investors over its remuneration policy after it was opposed by more than one third of votes cast at its annual shareholders’ meeting.

Ahead of the meeting on Thursday, investor advisory group ISS had recommended shareholders vote against the policy because the pension contribution rate of 24% for Chief Executive David Potts and Chief Operating Officer Trevor Strain was not aligned with the 5% received by most of the company’s workforce.

Morrisons said 34.8% of votes cast at the annual general meeting (AGM) were against the resolution to approve the pay policy, while 65.2% were in favour.

Morrisons said it had undertaken an extensive consultation process before proposing the new remuneration policy.

“Although the policy vote passed, and we received considerable positive feedback during consultation, the board acknowledges a number of shareholders decided to vote against the policy,” it said.

“Kevin Havelock (chair of the remuneration committee), on behalf of the board, will therefore continue to engage with shareholders and will report in due course on the outcome of those discussions.”

The AGM, held at Morrisons’ headquarters in Bradford, northern England, was not attended by investors, who had to vote by proxy because of the coronavirus lockdown in Britain.

Last month, Morrisons reported a boost to first quarter sales from the lockdown, and said costs related to the pandemic should be broadly offset by the government’s business rates relief.

Separately on Thursday the group said it was extending its 10% discount for 1.5 million National Health Service (NHS) workers to the end of September. The discount was introduced in April.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Costas Pitas and Elaine Hardcastle)

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