Fabergé owner faces shareholder revolt over bonus scheme
Investors in Gemfields, the parent of high-end jeweller Fabergé, are unhappy. The gem producer and brand owner can expect a backlash over executive bonuses and the lack of transparency in its bonus scheme.
Gemfields, which is listed on London’s AIM market and in Johannesburg, is expected to face a shareholder rebellion at its annual meeting on Thursday.
Advisory group Glass Lewis (also behind a potential shareholder revolt against retailer JD Sports Fashion over executive chairman Peter Cowegill’s bonus payments) has warned of a lack of information about the workings of Gemfields’ share option plan. The complaint is also supported by fellow advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).
Glass Lewis has recommended investors vote against the “forward-looking remuneration policy, backward-looking pay report” and the re-election its remuneration committee chair. ISS also suggested investors to reject the policy.
The Times newspaper said the backlash comes despite Gemfields taking steps to rein-in pay in response to the coronavirus. Bosses and staff agreed to salary cuts last year and bonuses weren’t paid to executive directors for 2020. However, investors have been frustrated with its general approach to pay and also staged a pay revolt at last year’s annual meeting.
A spokesman told the Times: “As is common, the share options constitute legally binding obligations and cannot unilaterally be changed by the company or its remuneration committee”.
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