Carlton Communications chairman Michael Green, not usually noted for his zipped lip, became uncharacteristically silent at the firm’s annual meeting on Tuesday.
His sudden stony silence was triggered by shareholders’ questions about Carlton’s incentive plan for senior executive, of which Green himself is the most notable beneficiary.
The matter was most indelicately raised by the National Association of Pension Funds, which urged its members not to approve the company's remuneration report at yesterday’s meeting, citing insufficient detail as to how performance-related pay is determined.
The mood of investors was epitomized by one shareholder: “Everybody needs incentives . . . but they should be stipulated properly in the annual report,” he opined. “That’s what I want to see in this report – which is not there.”
Investors’ ire was evident in the final voting on approval of the mystery remuneration plan, with 14% of votes against and 18% abstaining. Some dissidents even felt that Green should get the heave-ho from the Carlton board, three per cent voting against his re-election and 13% abstaining.
Despite the chairman’s taciturnity, a Carlton spokesperson confirmed after the meeting that the group planned to include more detail in subsequent annual reports.
Green regained his voice, however, on the matter of Carlton’s planned merger with fellow-ITV titan Granada. Even if this is thrown out by the Competition Commission, the ITV duo will become spiritually one. “We believe in one ITV, there is no going back,” Green proselytized. “We have to focus on competition outside ITV rather than within.”
Data sourced from: Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff