Almost 58% of shareholders at General Electric voted against the US industrial conglomerate’s executive pay plan, which included a potential $230m for chief executive Larry Culp, says the Financial Times. Not only was Culp’s contract extended last year during the pandemic, but the board also lowered the stock price at which Culp would start earning bonus shares and almost doubled the amount of stock he would receive. As the stock “roared” back, Culp locked in $47m, with up to $230m vesting from 2024.

Mining giant Rio Tinto suffered a rare shareholder backlash when 61% of investors rejected the company’s pay policy, worth $55m in salaries and bonuses for the company’s top 14 executives, in a non-binding vote, says BBC News. However, the most contentious aspect of the pay plan was the $10m bonus for outgoing boss Jean- Sébastien Jacques. Last May, Rio Tinto destroyed sacred Aboriginal sites in Australia, leading to a public outcry and resignations,
including those of the CEO and chairman.

Defence and aerospace contractor BAE Systems changed the terms of its bonus scheme so that its CEO, Charles Woodburn, could be handed a £2m “golden handcuffs” deal after Woodburn was approached to join Rio Tinto, says The Times. Woodburn also received a
13% pay rise over two years, taking his basic salary to £1.1m. Last year, Woodburn
earned a total of £6m, up from £3.7m in 2019.

Nice job if you can get it!

“Big company bosses lose only a fraction of their pay when employees die on the job,” said Kevin Rawlinson and Jasper Jolly in The Guardian. Top executives at companies with bonuses tied to reducing worker fatalities lost an average of “only” £33,600 per worker, or less than 1% of their average total pay, when an employee died in the 2019-2020 reporting period, according to shareholder advisory firm Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC). Its analysis of annual reports from 38 FTSE 350 companies at which at least one person died at work between 2015 and 2019 showed that two firms did not even report docking their bosses’ health and safety bonuses. Building group Balfour Beatty reported the smallest bonus cut of
£12,500 per worker in the 2019-2020 reporting period, steelmaker Evraz the biggest at £61,207 per fatality of its employees and contractor.

Source: MoneyWeek

Kris Paterson is a writer for