July 10, 2017 / 12:24 PM / 2 years ago

Burberry investor Royal London to vote against pay report

LONDON (Reuters) - Burberry (BRBY.L) investor Royal London Asset Management expressed continued concern about corporate governance at the British luxury brand and said it would vote against the company’s pay report.

A customer walks in front of a Burberry store in central London July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico/File Photo

Royal London holds a 0.5 percent stake in Burberry, whose executive pay policies have faced persistent investor criticism.

The asset manager also said it would vote against the re-election of Chairman John Peace and of the remuneration committee chair Fabiola Arredondo at Burberry’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.

“While the board has made some improvements since the last shareholder rebellion three years ago, the chaotic response to several remuneration issues this year has heightened our concerns about poor corporate governance at Burberry,” Ashley Hamilton Claxton, Royal London’s corporate governance manager, said in a statement on Monday.

Back in 2014 nearly 53 percent of votes cast at its annual shareholder meeting opposed the board’s remuneration report.

Hamilton Claxton criticized only a slim reduction in the bonus of former chief executive Christopher Bailey despite a 21 percent fall in 2016-17 profit, as well as awards to new finance chief Julie Brown, poor board oversight and the firm’s new reporting structure.

Marco Gobbetti succeeded Bailey as CEO on July 5, but Bailey remains president and chief creative officer.

Shareholder bodies have also been critical of Burberry’s remuneration policies.

Burberry declined to comment.

The firm said last month that it wanted to announce a successor to Peace by the end of 2018.

It is due to give a trading update on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

Shares in Burberry, up 8 percent this year, were 0.2 percent higher at 1,614 pence at 1110 GMT, valuing the business at 7 billion pounds ($9 billion).

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Susan Fenton

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