Shareholders dealt a series of blows against Next and its board on Thursday as large numbers voted to kick out its chairman and against the company’s pay plans.
The business said chairman Michael Roney received less than four in five (79.2 per cent) of the votes cast at its annual shareholder meeting.
Meanwhile around one in six votes (16 per cent) were cast against the company’s remuneration policy, which can hand Next’s top bosses a pay package worth five times more than their salary.
Next said it had noted the vote against Roney and would engage with shareholders who had voted against his re-election to the board. It did not note the other votes.
It said: “Whilst resolution 12, to re-elect Michael Roney, was passed with a clear majority, the board recognises that there was also a significant vote against this resolution.
“The board will seek to engage with those shareholders who voted against this resolution.”
Next said it would update shareholders on the feedback it gets by November at the latest and publish a summary in its annual report.
In a note sent to shareholders before the meeting, advisory group PIRC said that investors should vote against Roney.
While being chairman of Next, Roney is also chairing the Grafton Group, which is on the FTSE 250.
“It is considered that a chair cannot effectively represent two corporate cultures,” PIRC said.
“The possibility of having to commit additional time to the role in times of crisis is ever present.
“Given this, a chair should focus his attention on to only one FTSE 250 company.”
PIRC had also suggested that shareholders should vote against the remuneration policy, which investors also questioned.
It raised a series of concerns about how the long-term incentives for executives worked, saying that bonuses were at times linked to areas beyond the control of directors.
PIRC also advised shareholders to vote against last year’s remuneration report, which included a £4.4m total pay package for chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson.
August Graham, Press Association