JD Wetherspoon may be hit with a shareholder revolt at the pub chain’s annual meeting this month over proposals to boost the finance director’s pay by more than 10 per cent.
Proxy advisers ISS and Glass Lewis have recommended that investors oppose a 12.3 per cent increase in salary for finance chief Ben Whitley to £192,000.
The rise, which will be decided on at a meeting on 15 November, would bring Whitley’s annual pay to more than £469,000 after benefits, bonuses, pension and incentives are added on, the Sunday Times reported.
Whitley, who has been with the company for just under 20 years, was appointed to the board in 2014.
In the pub brand’s latest financial statement it reported record sales, profit and earnings per share boosted by the record heat wave across the country and the Football World Cup.
Pre-tax profit after exceptional items rose to £89m in the year to 29 July, an increase of 16.5 per cent from the previous year, while like-for-like sales increased by five per cent.
However, it warned that it expects higher costs due to a new sugar tax on drinks, a minimum wage increase, rent increases and higher power bills
The outlook for the company is positive, Chairman and founder Tim Martin said, if Britain rejects the Chequers Brexit deal and adopts a free trade approach similar to Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Israel.
Martin, a vocal eurosceptic, said: “Ending tariffs will reduce shop and pub prices, improve living standards, and will help non-EU suppliers, currently discouraged by tariffs, quotas and the extensive paraphernalia of EU protectionism.”
The company will ditch European spirits such as Jagermeister for non-EU equivalents in a bid to lower prices across its 880 pubs.
Martin told City A.M last month: “There will definitely be more steps in this direction…Once we leave the EU, our assumption is that the tariff barriers will fall, and it will open up the possibility of buying from the 93 per cent of the world outside of the EU.”