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Shareholder Spring Gives UK Bosses Hay Fever!
16 Jun 2012, 11:09 AM  Watch Video
What do Aviva, Barclays, Easyjet, HSBC, Xstrata, Cairn and WPP have in common? All these companies have faced angry shareholders protesting against high CEO pay. Many in Britain are calling it a 'Shareholder Spring' and it's taken down some big-ticket CEOs.

Springfever has attacked more than a dozen British companies this year and no ordinary spring this but one in which shareholders have voted down the big salaries paid to top bosses at well-known companies.

32% of Barclay's investors voted against the bank's pay report especially since bonuses reportedly amounted to over 2 billion pounds whereas the dividend payout totaled 700 million pounds.

At AVIVA more than 50% shareholders refused to support the remuneration report leading to the resignation of CEO, Andrew Moss. Sly Balley at Trinity Mirror also headed out to door when her remuneration came under attack.

20% at HSBC, 40% at Xstrata and 60% at Cairn Energy voted against top management pay plans.

Earlier this week, WPP boss Martin Sorrell, the second highest paid CEO amongst FTSE 100 companies was forced to defend his 13 million pound pay package after 60% of WPP shareholders refused to support the plan.

Looks like last winters occupy protest has turned into a shareholder spring!

Karina Litvack

Director, Head of Governance & Sustainable Investment

F&C Investments

"Yes, in a sense what is happening is that some of the social disquiet that has erupted and that has manifested in the occupy movement has spilled over into the shareholder arena. The funny thing about the shareholder spring, as has been called, is that shareholders have had the tools that they have been using for nine years and yet only a very small minority of investors were using them. This year they have actually started to use them in large numbers. That is what is interesting and I do think that it reflects a generalized concern about what is happening."

Matthew Lynn

Founder & CEO

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