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Sainsbury’s and M&S face shareholder revolt over executive pay

Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer face protest from shareholders this week over the disparity between executive pay and shop staff.

Shareholder advisory group Pirc and proxy voting and corporate governance agency Manifest have both voiced concerns about excessive pay for Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe and a share award for his predecessor Justin King, as well as a long-term share award for M&S chief executive Marc Bolland, reported The Guardian.

Coupe was paid £1.5m including bonuses last year while King, who left Sainsbury’s in June, waived his cash severance payment of up to £1.7m but held on to long-term share awards. He could receive 211% of his former salary, or £1.9m, from outstanding long-term share awards relating to the performance of the retailer in 2012/13.

Bolland’s package of £1.57m could see him earn up to three times his salary in long-term share awards based on performance targets not linked to financial targets.

Pirc also recommended that shareholders vote against a new executive share option plan for M&S that allows for awards to be accelerated in the event of a takeover or when an executive leaves the business.

M&S has also come under pressure to raise pay in France and the UK, with French unions launching two strikes in Paris within a nine-day period calling for a 7% pay rise and UK campaigners planning to lobby the firm at its quarterly trading update on Tuesday, according to the Daily Mail.

@Tara_Hounslea

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