Ashtead clashes with investors over chief executive’s £6.6m pay


FTSE 100 giant Ashtead cruising for row with shareholders over chief executive Brendan Horgan’s £6.6m pay

  • Investors advised to vote against the eye-watering package for Horgan 
  • Also to block re-election of Lucinda Riches, head of pay committee  
  • Miss Riches has written to shareholders in an attempt to head off a revolt 

FTSE 100 giant Ashtead is cruising for a row with shareholders over its chief executive’s £6.6m pay. 

A confrontation this week will be its second clash over bosses’ rewards in just 12 months. Investors have been advised to vote against the eye-watering package for Brendan Horgan, the plant-hire firm’s American chief executive, at tomorrow’s annual meeting. 

They have also been recommended to block the re-election of Lucinda Riches, chairman of the pay committee that signs off executive rewards. 

Clash: Investors have been advised to vote against the eye-watering package for Brendan Horgan

In a highly unusual intervention, Miss Riches has written to shareholders in an attempt to head off a revolt. More than a third last year voted against the pay report and the remuneration policy, which sets out proposed rewards for the future. 

As a consequence, Ashtead was placed on the Investment Association’s ‘list of shame’. 

This exposes companies that have suffered a significant shareholder protest against pay and bonuses for top executives. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which advises investors on how to vote at annual meetings, said executive pay at the company was ‘not in line with market standards’. 

It complained of a ‘lack of material action’ about the concerns raised last year. Horgan’s most recent pay packet, which includes his annual salary and a string of bonus payments, is even higher than the £6.2m he received the year before. 

In a letter sent to investors last week, shown to the Mail on Sunday by one shareholder source, Riches says Ashtead was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the ISS advice and by its opposition to her re-election. 

She said accusations that shareholder concerns had not been addressed were ‘unjustified’ adding that investors had been ‘consulted extensively’ on the pay proposals. 

Riches admitted there had been ‘clearly some divergence of views’ with shareholders last year. The firm rents out plant and machinery to the construction sector as well as providing other industrial services. 

Riches said in her letter that ‘supportive responses’ from shareholders led her to conclude ‘that no further action… was required.’

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