Diageo bosses faced a rebellion from investors yesterday over the level of pay for its senior management.

A fifth of its shareholders refused to back the drinks giant’s remuneration report amid concerns about overly generous pay for executives including top man Paul Walsh (pictured).

The Guinness brewer’s chief executive has recently been touted as a candidate to take over as chairman at fmcg giant Unilever.

Co-operative Asset Management led the protests, its objections including the amount of shares Walsh could pocket in the event of his exit. Its calls, backed by a number of institutional investors, came as Diageo unveiled its latest quarterly results.

“The result shows the significant disgruntlement among other shareholders,” said an analyst at CAM.