PageGroup executives’ bonus scheme under fire at AGM

An incentive plan that could see executives at PageGroup earning almost four times their base salary through one bonus scheme received significant opposition at the recruitment giant’s AGM yesterday.

More than a third of shareholders voting at the meeting were against the proposed directors’ remuneration policy, which contained measures to replace the annual bonus and long-term incentive plan currently available with an executive single incentive plan.

The controversial remuneration policy was passed as it was backed by a majority of 66% of voters. The rules of the plan, contained in a separate resolution, were passed with a majority of 69%.

The new plan allows for annual awards of up to 375% of base salary for each executive director. PageGroup CEO Steve Ingham is on more than £600k per year, according to the firm’s 2016 annual report, meaning he could bag £2.25m-worth of additional payments, with some of this coming in deferred shares.

However, the group – which contains Michael Page, Page Executive and Page Personnel among other well-known brands – described the vote as “disappointing”. 

“The board notes that … there were a significant number of votes cast against both resolutions,” it said in a statement.

“We thank those shareholders who voted in favour of the resolutions and those who have already explained their reasons for not supporting the resolutions. 

“The board feels strongly that the remuneration policy is an important part of its strategy and will help drive performance at PageGroup through clear, simple and transparent executive remuneration, linked to strategic, financial and non-financial targets.

“It was disappointed with the level of the vote, especially following the constructive and generally supportive consultation process. The company acknowledges this outcome and will continue its dialogue with shareholders.”

PageGroup said the executive single incentive plan would not increase the maximum total reward available to executives.

It added that the company would: simplify remuneration; introduce a single balanced scorecard; incorporate deferral of a significant portion of any award; introduce post-vesting holding periods on all vesting shares for executives who have not met the shareholding requirement; maintain both annual and longer-term performance measurement; and result in simpler disclosure of remuneration outcomes.

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