US-owned delivery and warehousing company that counts Marks & Spencer and Asos among its customers has been criticized for giving bosses multi-million pound bonuses while pushing for taxpayer-funded vacation assistance British.
XPO Logistics paid $ 6.4million (£ 4.6million) in cash bonuses for 2020, including $ 3.3million to Brad Jacobs, chief executive and chairman of the Connecticut-based company, according to his Annual Report.
The company’s three top executives have also received stock options worth more than $ 27 million, and a new incentive program could see them split an additional $ 144 million over six years.
Data from HM Revenue and Customs shows six of the company’s UK subsidiaries claimed a total of between £ 12m and £ 25m in leave between December 2020 and February, the only months for which data is available.
XPO didn’t own two of the companies until January 2021, but claims continued after that point.
The company’s annual report indicates that its compensation committee met 11 times in 2020 to discuss executive compensation and that it had the power to “incorporate an element of discretion” into its decisions.
Pirc, an organization that advises shareholders on how to vote at company annual meetings, said investors should oppose the company’s compensation policy and the re-election of its compensation committee at a vote in the United States on Tuesday.
Pirc noted the generosity of the company’s compensation arrangements in light of his decision to receive state support.
“Companies that rely on taxpayer support during the pandemic are expected to make appropriate reductions in executive pay,” Pirc said.
Shareholder votes on wages are not binding in the United States but can prove embarrassing for companies facing a major rebellion.
XPO Logistics made no reference in its annual report to cutting executive compensation in 2021 to reflect its use of state support during the pandemic.
However, the company said it had discussed its executive compensation for 2020 with shareholders throughout 2020 and early 2021, while also asking for time off.
Labor MP Olivia Blake, who sits on the public accounts committee, which monitors public spending, said: ‘When companies take large amounts of public money, one has to ask why big bonuses seem to be paid.
“Obviously, the intention of the time off program is to protect jobs, and it seems strange that companies are paying millions in bonuses.”
XPO employs over 25,000 people in the UK and has delivery and storage contracts for goods with companies such as Marks & Spencer, Asos, Primark and Waitrose.
The UK was the company’s largest market outside of the US at the end of 2020, accounting for more than $ 2 billion of its annual revenue of $ 16 billion.
It has since acquired two businesses from rivals Kuehne and Nagel, in a purchase that was agreed in March 2020 but was not finalized until January 2021.
An XPO spokesperson declined to comment.
A Treasury spokesperson said: ‘Over the past 12 months the leave program has helped pay the wages of millions of workers across the UK – and it would be wrong to deny anyone the necessary support for this difficult period.
“We made it clear that the system was to be used in the spirit in which it was intended.”