Inmarsat pledges to review its approach to executive pay after sting from shareholders

Rebecca Smith
Satellite firm Inmarsat has been stung by shareholders
Satellite firm Inmarsat has been stung by shareholders (Source: Getty)

Executive pay was under the spotlight again yesterday as satellite firm Inmarsat said it will review its approach to pay after a shareholder scare on its remuneration report for the year.

Just 51.1 per cent voted to approve its report at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM), while 48.86 per cent voted against.

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Inmarsat was given more breathing space on its remuneration policy; how executive pay will be calculated in years to come, which was backed by 90 per cent of shareholders. The firm said it was “mindful” of the backlash over its pay report.

Inmarsat said: “The company has confirmed it will review its approach to remuneration over the next year, which will include a review of the operation of the bonus share award. We will continue to engage with our shareholders as we conduct this review.”

The FTSE 250 firm, which specialises in providing mobile connections to ships, planes, oil and gas platforms, said in its annual report earlier this year, that chief executive Rupert Pearce and chief financial officer Tony Bates were entitled to bonuses of 88.3 per cent of salary for 2016.

It marks a mixed climate for companies on executive pay during a flurry of AGMs; also yesterday, GlaxoSmithKline’s and Rolls-Royce's remuneration resolutions were backed comprehensively.

However, Ladbroke Coral noted 24.8 per cent of votes against its directors’ pay report, after some shareholders flagged the salary rise of chief executive Jim Mullen at the time of the merger with Gala Coral.

The chairman and remuneration committee chair will meet with any significant shareholders who voted against the report to identify any other issues.

At Trinity Mirror’s AGM, a fifth of votes went against its remuneration policy.

It comes a week after Astrazeneca suffered a pay backlash, with nearly 40 per cent of voting shareholders opposing the firm’s executive pay packets.

On Wednesday, RBS investors were urged to vote against the bank’s remuneration policy, despite RBS slashing the maximum award sizes on offer for its chief executive and finance chief.

And Stefan Stern, director of the High Pay Centre, has warned it is still “far too soon to declare ‘job done’ on bringing a bit more realism into the levels of CEO pay”.

“It is encouraging to see big shareholders playing a more active role, and to see remuneration committees acting on what they are being told,” Stern added. “But we are only now beginning to see a touch more restraint after years of unjustified rises, and at a time when the Prime Minister clearly has excessive pay in her sights. The gap between pay at the top and for everybody else has grown too far. So a lot more work is still needed.”

Read more: AstraZeneca shareholders rebel against high pay packets

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