EasyJet edges win in face of Stelios protest

Marion Dakers
EASYJET clinched a narrow victory at its AGM yesterday, with founder Sir Stelios Haji-Iaonnou and other investors lodging a significant protest vote against director pay and outgoing chairman Sir Mike Rake.

The budget airline’s remuneration report garnered just 55.29 per cent support, after Sir Stelios voted his family’s 37 per cent stake against the plans and others followed suit.

Sir Mike was re-elected with 55.6 per cent support, thwarting Sir Stelios’s plan to oust him before his planned departure in the summer.

But EasyJet failed to pass a special resolution allowing the board to authorise general meetings more than once a year – a measure that several institutional investors have opposed at other firms.

A spokesperson for Sir Stelios said he will “keep up his campaign for shareholder value, and it will be public not in private” once Sir Mike leaves and the firm joins the FTSE 100, which could happen in March’s reshuffle.

The chairman defended his record at EasyJet, saying ahead of the meeting that he and Sir Stelios had agreed to temper the firm’s high-growth strategy as far back as 2009.

“This has created the basis for a spectacular return for the company’s shareholders as Carolyn [McCall, chief executive] and her management team have done an outstanding job in executing the company’s strategy,” he said.