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Burberry Shareholders To Revolt?

Jul 07, 2014 09:47 PM EDT
(Photo : REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

Burberry shareholders are said to be concerned with the pay deal that has been agreed upon with Christopher Bailey, the brand's chief executive and chief creative officer, with reports circulating that shareholders may revolt, which British Vogue reported via The Sunday Times.

Additionally, "Three 'influential advisory bodies' have raised concerns of one-off share awards for Bailey, whose pay - at least in part - is 'not performance based.'"

According to British Vogue, the breakdown of Bailey's compensation starts next year when he will begin to receive shares worth more than £26 million (or approximately more than $44 million at current exchange rate), which was part of his previous pay agreement.

His new compensation packages also includes a £1.1 million (or roughly $1.9 million at current exchange rate) basic salary and a £440,000 (or a little more than $750,000 at current exchange rate) annual allowance.

The Investment Management Association, which promotes a "commercially successful and growing UK investment management industry," has released an "amber top" rating on Burberry's pay policies, as British Vogue reported.

Additionally, the group is requesting its members to contemplate Bailey's agreement before the luxury group's annual shareholders meeting on Friday.

As British Vogue highlighted, when the association intervenes, it is often an indicator that a revolt by shareholders over executive pay may loom.

In 2011, the British fashion brand faced another revolt when Angela Ahrendts was Burberry's chief executive.

At that time, one of UK's largest lobby groups, Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc), urged its members to vote against Burberry's remuneration plans.

The point of contention came when Ahrendts was given a one-off £5.8m share payment, which calculated to roughly six times her base salary of £990,000, according to The Guardian.

A source within the financial arena told The Guardian, "They [luxury brands] pay an awful lot of money to their top guys. In the context of another company you would be horrified, but luxury goods companies are a bit different."

The source also did not expect a major rebellion over pay since the company had been so successful recently.

What will happen this time? We will have to wait and see as more details and events begin to unfold. Do you think the shareholders will revolt?

FOLLOW: Burberry, Christopher Bailey, Angela Ahrendts

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