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Investors ready for more revolts over executive pay and diversity

Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin’s executive chairman, and biggest shareholder could face opposition to his re-election at the annual meeting tomorrow because of concerns about the dearth of women on the board


Aston Martin Lagonda and Hochschild Mining are among the companies bracing themselves for shareholder rebellions this week over concerns about boardroom diversity and executive pay.

Hochschild, the FTSE 250 gold and silver producer, faces a rebellion after Glass Lewis, the shareholder advisory service, advised its clients to reject the miner’s pay report when the company meets on Thursday.

The rebellion relates to death last year at the Pallancata mine in Peru. Despite the fatality, the portion of the executive annual bonus linked to health and safety made a partial payout to Ignacio Bustamante, 50, Hochschild’s chief executive. He was paid $1.9 million last year, including a $945,000 bonus.

Glass Lewis said that the safety element of the bonus should have been cut to zero because it “risks sending a mixed message to the executives as to the company’s overarching safety goal”.

Hochschild declined to comment.

Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, its rival, wield influence among institutional investors by playing a key role in identifying corporate governance concerns and recommending how shareholders should vote.

It emerged last week that Aston Martin risked a backlash over the £142,000 bonus it gave to Tobias Moers, 55, its chief executive, for 2020. ISS said that the payment was questionable and it advised voting against the pay report because the carmaker had taken taxpayer support during the pandemic and has cut jobs.

Lawrence Stroll, 61, the Canadian billionaire who is Aston Martin’s executive chairman and biggest shareholder, could face opposition to his re-election at the annual meeting tomorrow because of concerns about the dearth of women on the board. Aston Martin has only one female director and Stroll is the head of the committee that determines appointments to its board.

Glass Lewis, which has recommended that investors vote against Stroll’s reappointment, said that he should be held accountable for the shortcomings on gender.

An Aston Martin spokesman said that the group was committed to increasing diversity “as a matter of priority”.

There have already been revolts at companies including AstraZeneca, where 39.8 percent of investors who voted at its annual meeting rejected plans to raise the pay package of Pascal Soriot, 62, the chief executive, to as much as £17.8 million this year.

The Restaurant Group, which is behind the Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama chains and holds its annual meeting tomorrow, and Intertek, the tester of consumer goods that faces shareholders on Wednesday, are at risk of potential rebellions because of worries about remuneration.


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