Morrisons’ new management pledged to review its pay policies after the supermarket faced a shareholder revolt yesterday over the size of the bonus awarded to its ousted chief executive Dalton Philips.
More than a third of shareholders (35.6 per cent) rejected the retailer’s remuneration report, according to proxy voting results revealed at its annual general meeting in Bradford.
Philips was forced to step down in February, after failing to halt the decline in sales at the grocer during his five years in charge.
He walked away with a £1m bonus on top of a base salary of £850,000, a £239,000 pension and benefits pot as well as a £1.1m payoff.
Andrew Higginson, a former Tesco executive who joined the board in October, noted concerns over Philips’ payout but said this was the “minimum, legally” that could be paid.
However he also added that bonuses were deserved, given that it managed to hit a number of performance targets despite the turmoil it faced last year.
Sir Ken Morrison, the son of the supermarket’s founder, who ran the chain for over 50 years, voiced his support for new chief executive David Potts and urged investors to give management time to turn sales around.
“It’s a big job to restore the company’s fortunes, please be patient and give management some breathing space,” 83-year-old Morrison said.
His show of support for the current team contrasts with his tirade against Philips at last year’s AGM, when he described the former chief executive’s strategy as “bullshit” in front of shareholders.
Potts has already made his mark by slimming its head office, hiring more people on the shop floor, and focusing on its core supermarket business.