Shareholders of SuperGroup gave a big ‘NO’ to co-founder Julian Dunkerton during last week’s annual general meeting: ‘no’ to his re-election as chief executive (18 percent of votes); ‘no’ to the company’s remuneration report (15 percent) and‘no’ to Susanne Given as new chief operating officer (17 percent).
There were also robust votes against chairman Peter Bamford, non-executive directors Steven Glew and Indira Thambiah.
Nearly one in five shareholders at SuperGroup is not happy with co-founder Julian Dunkerton. 18 percent of votes went against his re-election as chief executive, while another strong 17 percent voted against the incorporation to the directors’ boards of Susanne Gives as chief operating officer.
One of the most polemic bits was the pay deal proposed for former John Lewis’ Susan Given. It includes a 350,000 pounds base salary, as well as a guaranteed share award of 900,000 pounds and a guaranteed bonus for 2013 of 350,000 pounds. Almost 19 percent of investors either voted against her election as a director or abstained. Besides, 17 percent voted against the remuneration report.
Toughest part however, was for the co-founder and current chief executive, who saw how one in five shareholders voted against his re-election. It’s worthy of mention that 63 percent of the company’s shares are held by management and the founders of SuperGroup, while Dunkerton owns 32.52 percent (26 million shares), according to the latest annual report.
Due to this internal rebellion, Association of British Insurers has portrayed general concern putting an "amber alert" on the retailer's remuneration report – its second most severe warning – while shareholder group Pirc also recommended investors vote against the pay proposals, reported ‘The Guardian’.
In the same line, Pirc warned the practice was "not in the company or investors' long-term interests as it contributes to a general tendency to grant such replacement awards, which in turn devalues the retentive effect of share schemes".
Nevertheless, SuperGroup's pay plans and director re-elections were passed as they received the majority of votes needed and, as a response to all criticism, SuperGroup said in its annual report that it was aware the awards were "unusual" but that they were "necessary to facilitate both recruitments".