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Pendragon shareholders revolt against pay deals for bosses

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Shareholders in car dealership Pendragon voted against bosses’ pay and bonuses, while its chief executive was handed a bloody nose from frustrated investors.

Almost two-thirds of shareholders – 65.51% – voted against the company’s remuneration report, which outlined the pay packets and bonuses its bosses received for 2021.

It was the only resolution which was rejected at the group’s annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday.

Those with key roles in the group also faced the wrath of shareholders. Chief executive Bill Berman retained his role, but 35% voted against his re-election.

It came after Mr Berman was paid £3.4 million in pay and bonuses for the year.

Car showroom
At the AGM 35.1% voted against the re-election of chief executive Bill Berman as director (PA)

Anders Hedin, owner of Swedish car retailer Hedin Group, a major shareholder with a 27% stake in the business, said this was “unwarranted”, in an interview with the Sunday Times.

He also told the paper: “I would like Pendragon to explain why the chief executive deserves an astonishing £3.4m in pay – the equivalent of 4% of Pendragon’s profits – and more than three times the compensation awarded to chief executives at Pendragon’s competitors.

“This is unwarranted, wasteful and totally unacceptable.”

The pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine have also created issues for Pendragon, with lengthy delays caused by global shortages of microchips used in vehicle electronics and wider supply chain disruption.

Dietmar Exler faced a similar situation to the chief executive at the AGM, with 39.79% voting against his re-election as senior independent director.

In a statement after the AGM, the company acknowledged the feelings of investors and said it would “consult further with shareholders”.

It said: “The board recognises the significant vote against the report on directors’ remuneration.

“In terms of implementation of the remuneration policy for 2022, the remuneration committee has already indicated an intention to revert to LTIP (long-term incentive plan) awards with a three-year performance period and two-year holding period.

“In addition, the company’s overall remuneration policy is due to be presented to shareholders for renewal at the 2023 AGM.

“Between now and then the remuneration committee intends to consult further with shareholders on the formulation of the new policy.”

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