Wednesday 17 July 2019 4:51 pm

Premier Foods pay report passes despite shareholder anger

Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods passed its executive pay recommendations this afternoon despite frustrated shareholders’ anger at the state of the company.

Shareholder advisory firm ISS had recommended that investors oppose the remuneration report after the company paid former chief executive Gavin Darby a full salary of £864,000 in lieu of his notice period. 

Read more: Mr Kipling sales soar 10 per cent

In total 11.96 per cent of the shareholders that voted decided to oppose the director’s remuneration report at today’s annual general meeting (AGM). 

“Given the current state of affairs and where the business is, it doesn’t match the strategic direction,” independent shareholder Richard Cooper told City A.M. 

He said the pay decision was “unregulated unfairness”. 

Shareholders took the opportunity to vent their concerns in an at times heated discussion with directors of the company, which also owns the Ambrosia custard and Angel Delight brands. 

One investor said Premier Foods was the “laughing stock of the City” and branded Darby’s leadership “a disaster”. 

“We came here and get Ambrosia, you came here and get millions,” another said, criticising the firm’s lack of dividend payments. 

Chairman Keith Hamill stepped down from his role at the meeting, and a permanent chief executive is yet to be found following Darby’s departure last year. 

The food manufacturer reported this morning that overall sales were up 1.1 per cent in the first quarter, boosted by the strong performance of its Mr Kipling brand which increased sales by 10 per cent.

Read more: Premier Foods facing shareholder revolt over executive pay

Acting chief executive Alastair Murray said Premier Goods had an “encouraging start” to the year. 

“These figures provide evidence that the company’s strategy is delivering results. Our expectations for the full year remain unchanged,” he said.