Burberry shareholders vote against Christopher Bailey pay deal

Nassos Stylianou
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Shareholders at the luxury goods stalwart Burberry vote down CEO pay package (Source: Getty)

Shareholders have struck a blow to Britain's iconic luxury fashion brand Burberry by voting against the proposed multi-million pound pay package for new chief executive Christopher Bailey.

More than 50 per cent of those who voted at the luxury giant's annual general meeting today went against the directors' remuneration report.

The lucrative package includes a £1.1m salary, up to 200 per cent of that in performance related bonuses, and an annual £440,000 cash allowance, while in the last four years Bailey received shares that are valued in the region of £20m at the stock's current price.

The vote was not binding and can be considered a protest vote from shareholders, while the company can go ahead with the deal.

Today's annual gneral meeting comes just a day after the luxury goods maker beat estimates to report strong sales growth of 12 per cent for the three months to June. The company received a boost from its click and collect sales as well, a process that allows customers to order items such as the brand's famous trenchcoats online and pick them up in store.

Following the vote, company chairman Sir John Peace said he was disappointed and would consult with shareholders, but defended the award of equity to Bailey, saying it takes in the face of "competing job offers for Christopher which were much more than his existing package".

"In developing our remuneration policy, Burberry is guided by three principles: delivering value to shareholders, ensuring business success and remaining competitive in the global talent market in the luxury industry."

Before joining Burberry in 2001, Bailey worked as a designer at Gucci. As well as keeping his role as the company's chief creative officer, he was appointed as chief executive earlier this year when Angela Ahrendts, the boss credited with reviving Burberry, left to join Apple.

Last week Sports Director owner Mike Ashley landed a bumper bonus at the third attempt, following fierce shareholder opposition. In the last few months pay package revolts have engulfed other high profile London listed businesses such as Barclays, drug maker AstraZeneca and HSBC, but such revolts have traditionally been rare at high profile firms.

The Telegraph reports that Burberry has become just the sixth FTSE 100 business to have its pay package voted down by shareholders in the last decade.

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