UK board room pay hikes under threat

Britain’s top bosses were sent a warning that they must rein in boardroom excess when shareholders voted overwhelmingly against huge pay deals at two of Britain’s biggest companies.

Almost 60 percent of shareholders voted against a £14 million pay package for the chief executive of BP in a year in which it reported record losses, cut thousands of jobs and froze its employees’ pay.

Just hours later, more than 50 percent of investors voted against pay deals at the medical equipment group Smith & Nephew.

After scenes recalling the 2012 “shareholder spring” when several major companies faced rebellions over pay, the Institute of Directors said companies must respond to shareholders’ anger or risk discrediting the wider business community.

BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, told the meeting that the board would listen to shareholders’ views while the chair of the company’s remuneration committee promised to review its executive pay structure.