Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc shareholders protested the 23.2 million-pound ($33.6 million) pay package for chief Rakesh Kapoor, the latest sign of growing investor discontent at hefty executive compensation.
Almost 18 percent of shareholders who voted rejected the company’s remuneration report, Reckitt Benckiser said in a statement Thursday after its annual general meeting in London. The vote was non-binding, with dissent coming from investors including Royal London Asset Management Ltd, which has said that the company’s pay pushes the boundaries of acceptability. The company’s pay policy was rebuffed by 24 percent of those who voted.
Reckitt Benckiser spokeswoman Patty O’Hayer said the approval rate for the report has increased to 82 percent from 68 percent two years ago, so “we’re moving in the right direction.”
The protest is the latest setback for the maker of Dettol disinfectants, which is grappling with a South Korean probe into the sale of now-banned humidifier sanitizers that have been linked to respiratory illnesses and deaths. The Slough, England-based company has also been fined for misleading Australian consumers over claims about its Nurofen painkillers. The events have overshadowed a strong sales performance in recent quarters.
Since Kapoor took over from predecessor Bart Becht, he’s generated a total return of 134 percent, well above the FTSE 100. Still, investors are losing patience with outsized pay: almost 60 percent shot down payouts at BP Plc, which awarded CEO Bob Dudley a 20 percent increase even as the oil company’s shares tumbled.
For the first time since 2012, FTSE 100 companies are losing votes on executive pay practices -- even though so far, there have been no resignations as a result.
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