Marks & Spencer could face a shareholder revolt after its annual report revealed the retailer had paid out windfalls to two executives and planned to reduce key performance targets.

Steven Esom, head of food at M&S, received a £500,000 'golden hello' when he was poached from Waitrose last year, while clothing boss Kate Bostock received a £280,000 retention bonus, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Association of British Insurers said it had been unaware of the awards and that its members, of which 18% are M&S shareholders, would “not appreciate retention bonuses”, reported the Daily Mail.

The annual report also revealed M&S directors would need to increase earnings a share by 8% next year, down from 12% last year, to receive a pay-out under the retailer's performance share plan, according to the Financial Times.

M&S insisted the target was “at least as challenging” as previous targets because of the economic outlook.