Diageo heads into another AGM today with its executive pay policy under fire.
Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) has called on investors to vote against the spirit group’s remuneration report tomorrow, criticising both the sums paid out to executives last year and its forward-looking pay policies.
PIRC said in a statement earlier this week: “Rewards made to the executive directors for the year are considered excessive in comparison with their base salaries.
“The CEO variable pay is over three times his base salary and realised pay over the last five years is not commensurate with financial performance of the Company and the rewarded pay is considered excessive.”
The shareholder group also criticised Diageo’s future exec pay packages, noting that directors’ potential remuneration was excessive at 700% of their base salary.
The protest comes despite CEO Ivan Menezes earning less in his first year as CEO than he did as chief operating officer after Diageo’s revenues were hit by a slowdown in emerging markets.
Menezes received a total pay package of £7.8m for the year ending 30 June 2014, down from the £8.3m he received as COO during the previous year.
Former CEO Paul Walsh, who left in September 2013, received £6.4m last year – £6m of which came from long-term share incentives.
Investor discomfort over Diageo’s executive pay is nothing new - last year almost 12% of shareholders voted against its remuneration report at the company’s AGM.
Meanwhile, Diageo successfully placed €500.0m of 1.75% 10-year fixed rate eurobonds earlier this week. At the same time the spirits giant launched a €500m re-opening of its 1.125% bonds due in May 2019.
The proceeds of the debt issuance will be used for general corporate purposes.
Diageo has been one of the more active fmcg companies in the debt market so far this year. It issued €1.7bn of fixed rate euro bonds (including €850m of the 1.125% five-year bonds) in May.