Westpac shareholders have sent an overwhelming message of dissatisfaction, with more than half voting against the bank’s remuneration report.
This is more than twice the 25-per-cent threshold required to trigger a first strike against Westpac’s board. If next year’s remuneration report receives a vote against of more than 25 per cent, it will give shareholders the option to spill the entire board.
Westpac’s chairman Lindsay Maxsted foreshadowed the overwhelming no vote in his opening address to shareholders.
“The key point from those voting against the remuneration report has been that although the board took events over the year into account, many have questioned whether we went far enough, particularly in reducing short-term variable reward paid to the CEO and other executives,” Mr Maxsted said.
Westpac cut the short-term variable pay of its executives by an average of 25 per cent, with the largest individual reduction of 50 per cent.
The bank’s chief executive Brian Hartzer took a 30 per cent, or $900,000, pay cut last financial year.
Even though a vote on the report had not been taken when he made his speech, the vast bulk of votes cast at company AGMs are done by proxy, with most results determined before shareholders gather in the room.