Revolt over Pluthero pay

Steve Dinneen
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NEARLY 40 per cent of Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) shareholders refused to back new chief executive John Pluthero’s controversial incentive scheme yesterday.

A further 27 per cent withheld support for the embattled firm’s remuneration plans during a humbling annual meeting for the telecoms giant. While CWW was braced for a protest vote given its precarious financial position, the final number was even worse than sources close to the firm were expecting.

Shareholders are furious Pluthero and finance director Ian Gibson could receive shares worth three times their salaries next year. That could leave Pluthero with more than £2m worth of shares, despite CWW revising down its forecasts.

Shares in the firm have slumped since the profit warning last month – the third since its demerger from Cable & Wireless Group. The news was accompanied by the resignation of former chief executive Jim Marsh, described by one analyst as the leader of “the most loathed management team in the FTSE”.

The vote marks one of the most severe shareholder revolts so far this year. Afren and EasyJet both faced dissent of more than 50 per cent over their remuneration plans.

FirstGroup, Thomas Cook and Tullow Oil all had votes in the high 40s and Domino’s Pizza, Travis Perkins, WPP and Ladbrokes have also endured dissenting investors.