Shareholder opposes travel giant’s executive pay plans

Executive pay and reward levels continue to exercise shareholders
Executive pay and reward levels continue to exercise shareholders

Travel giant Thomas Cook is facing investor anger after a major shareholder voted against its plans for executive pay.

Standard Life Investments, which holds a 13% stake, has opposed changes tabled at the firm’s AGM.

Concerns have focused on plans to introduce a strategic share investment plan, which gives the remuneration committee the flexibility to adjust the objectives within the bonuses paid out to senior managers.

Standard Life Investments said it had “voted against several of the remuneration resolutions at Thomas Cook’s AGM, including the re-election of the remuneration committee chairman and its members,” a spokesman said.

“We disagreed with the introduction of a potential payment to executives above the remuneration policy’s normal upper limit.

“In addition, we opposed the introduction of new elements to the remuneration plan as we strongly believe these should be dealt with in the existing policy.”

It comes after CEO Peter Fankhauser’s pay was cut to £1.2 million last year from £4.3m.

Thomas Cook’s annual report said it intended to give him the chance to achieve an award of 200% of his base salary for 2017 to reflect his significant impact on the business.

The company tabled a motion at the AGM reducing it to 165% of base salary reflecting the share-price fall and the feedback from some shareholders. His base pay last year was £703,000.

Speaking at the AGM, non-executive chairman Frank Meysman said: “Our experience over the last few years is that we operate in a volatile industry.

“It is in the best interest of shareholders that we retain flexibility in the way we incentivise our managers.”