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Countrywide faces investor backlash over ‘excessive’ executive pay plans

  • 17/08/2018
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Countrywide faces investor backlash over ‘excessive’ executive pay plans
Beleaguered Countrywide has sparked investor anger over plans to boost potential share awards for executives as part of a rescue programme for the estate agent.



Executives including chairman Peter Long stand to pocket shares worth more than £6m as the new scheme gives share awards worth up to 18 times of base salary, compared to two times under the existing scheme.

The size of the awards depends upon the rise in the estate agent’s share price, which has collapsed by around 70% over the last six months from more than 64p in May to around 14p today.

Some investors have now vowed to vote against the new pay plans in a meeting on August 28 when a £140m rescue plan for the debt-laden estate agent will also be put to shareholders, according to a report by Sky News.


Oppose the policy

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), an adviser on voting decisions, said the new pay scheme is “excessive” and “unduly complex”, and warned that the “calculation of awards is not specified”.

The adviser said investors should oppose the new remuneration policy.

However, when Countrywide announced the rescue plan it said it had the backing of its largest shareholder Oaktree Capital.

Countrywide aims to raise cash through a discounted share sale of just 10p a share to ease its £211m debt burden.

Announcing the plan, executive chairman Long said the capital refinancing will “enable us to build upon the progress we have made to date on our three-year recovery plan as we deliver our return to growth strategy”.

Long is also chairman at the Royal Mail where 70% of investors last month voted against remuneration for senior executives.

More than 30% also voted against Long’s re-election over concerns that he holds too many board appointments.

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