Investors set to grumble about Vodafone pay

VODAFONE could be the next victim of the rebellion that has gripped the shareholders of a host of British companies in recent months.

Investors and shareholder bodies are preparing to speak out against Vittorio Colao’s pay package, City A.M. understands, after the Vodafone chief executive’s remuneration more than doubled to £14m.

Colao was paid £3m in salary, bonus and benefit payments in 2011, a year in which Vodafone grew revenues 1.2 per cent to £46.4bn and dished out £10.2bn to investors, making it the highest dividend payer in the FTSE.

Vodafone’s shares have gained more than a fifth since Colao took the helm in July 2008.

But investors could take issue with Colao’s whopping £11m worth of shares, which paid out this weekend.

The long-term incentive plan is measured against total shareholder return, designed to keep executive pay in alignment with stock owners.

In an interview this weekend with the Sunday Telegraph, Colao admitted worrying about the enormity of his pay packet.

He said: “I’ve thought about it a lot and I have discussed it with my wife. She tends to have the Left-leaning view in the family.

“Is it too much? Honestly, it’s a difficult answer.”

Shareholders will no doubt provide the answer at Vodafone’s annual general meeting, scheduled for 24 July.