Showdown looms in easyJet pay dispute

A row over executive pay at easyJet sparked by founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is due to come to a head this week.

Sir Stelios, who speaks for 37.4% of shares, will urge other investors to vote down a plan that could award 10 executives of the airline shares worth £8 million over the next three years.

His cause ahead of Thursday’s annual meeting at the budget airline’s Luton base gained momentum when Pensions Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) advised its members to vote down the remuneration report, citing concerns over the level of complexity surrounding incentive arrangements and an “inadequacy of disclosure”.

Pirc also seemed to suggest that Sir Stelios’s ongoing feud with the board was partly responsible for high levels of pay.

It added: “Executive pay is an inappropriate tool to mitigate the risk associated with having an active, controlling shareholder.”

The body advises investors with about £1.5 trillion in assets but it is not known how many of easyJet’s shares are owned by its members. The report needs 50% of shareholders’ votes to be passed.

Sir Stelios’s campaign was dealt a blow when the company’s three biggest institutional shareholders – Standard Life, Sanderson Asset Management and M&G, whose holdings account for 17.5% of the airline’s shares – said they would approve the pay plans.

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