No peace for Sir John, the serial chairman

Oliver Smith
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Sir John Peace faces another revolt following his failure to get Burberry investors to back Chris Bailey
Experian chairman Sir John Peace, who last week faced a shareholder revolt as chairman of Burberry, could find himself under fire again this week as investor groups call for a rejection of the credit rating firm’s “excessive” remuneration packages.

Peace has already been criticised over his chairmanship of three FTSE 100 listed firms – all of which have attracted shareholder anger – a position frowned upon by corporate governance guidance.

On Friday Burberry suffered one of the largest shareholder revolts ever when a record 53 per cent of investors rejected its £20m bonus for chief executive Christopher Bailey, the retailer’s recently appointed chief executive.

In May Standard Chartered faced a revolt from 40 per cent of its investors over executive pay at the bank, where Peace has been chair since 2009.

On Wednesday Peace will come under pressure once again as shareholders express concern over pay packages at Experian.

Shareholder advisory group PIRC, the Pensions Investment Research Consultants, has told its members to oppose both Experian’s remuneration report and policy.

“Rewards made to the executive directors for the year are considered excessive in comparison with their base salaries,” said PIRC, pointing to chief executive Don Robert’s rewards that represented 851.7 per cent of his base salary.

The Investment Management Association, whose 185 members control around 15 per cent of the stock market, is also understood to have placed an amber-top rating on Experian ahead of the shareholder meeting – its second highest rating indicating it has significant issues.

Nonetheless, sources are confident its remuneration report will get the requisite backing from investors. The firm told City A.M. last night it maintained “an active dialogue with our shareholders who every year have shown considerable support for the resolutions.”

Peace said in January that he will step down as chairman at Experian, bowing to criticism he has spread himself too thinly. Don Robert will assume the role of executive chairman.

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