Investors of UK-listed gambling firm GVC Holdings PLC are up in arms against the “excessively disproportionate” fat paychecks awarded to two of the company’s bosses, totaling £67 million (US$89.3 million).
Shareholder advice firms Pirc and Glass Lewis told investors to say no to GVC Chairman Larry Feldman and CEO Kenny Alexander’s hefty payments at the company’s annual meeting in Gibraltar on June 6, according to a report in The Guardian.
GVC is reportedly awarding Feldman share options amounting to £22.5 million ($30 million), while Alexander is set to receive options worth £45 million ($60 million). Glass Lewis pointed out that Alexander’s pay is estimated to be 550 times greater than what an average employee gets and thus found it “excessively disproportionate.”
Remuneration think tank High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard shared Glass Lewis’s sentiments, pointing out that the company continued to give out ‘outrageous’ executive pay despite the dissent of at least 45 percent of its investors.
Shareholders rebelled when Alexander’s total pay rose by as much as 430 percent to £19.4 million ($25.86 million) for 2016. The increase in Alexander’s pay in 2016 was mainly driven by the company’s share price rise.
“Clearly they’ve completely disregarded the strong vote against last year and are continuing with a similar approach to pay,” Hildyard said, according to the news outlet. “You’d hope that there will be an even stronger vote against this year.”
However, Hildyard admitted that the shareholders’ vote has no bearing since it is only an advisory in nature.
“This case demonstrates that even when shareholders do oppose egregious awards, which doesn’t happen often enough, the company doesn’t have to do anything about it,” the High Pay Centre director said.
GVC declined to comment on the pay deals, according to the report.
The UK-listed firm enjoyed a great run during the first five months of 2018, thanks to the stellar performance of its online channels. Last week, GVC reported that its group net gaming revenue in January to May 20 rose 7 percent. It would have been higher if not for adverse weather at the start of the year that affected retail operations, according to GVC.