At the heart of the revolt was the removal of £ 290million in Covid-related costs before bonuses were calculated, with 70.1% of investor votes against his compensation report at his annual meeting in Bradford on Thursday.
Several influential shareholder advisory firms, including the Investment Association and ISS, urged investors to vote against the grocer’s wages ahead of the meeting.
The company argued Thursday that chief executive David Potts deserved the salary deal after leading the supermarket through the pandemic.
Mr Potts, who waived salary increases for six years, received a total salary worth £ 4.2million including bonuses. He also received shares worth £ 1.4million despite falling profits to £ 165million from £ 435million the previous year.
The compensation committee improved the CEO’s payment after removing the cost of the pandemic when calculating the opportunity for a bonus.
Although investors contested these “adjustments”, the vote is advisory and therefore non-binding.
The retailer said it took note of the “very significant majority” vote against the wage deal, but defended the board’s decision.
Morrisons was the first supermarket to improve payment terms for small suppliers. All staff received bonuses – the average reward was tripled and paid early – to recognize their efforts during the pandemic.
There have been four bigger losses in the past five years. Other notable uprisings include a rebellion at Tesco last year (67 percent), when its compensation committee also chose to revise some compensation criteria, and against a £ 110million payout for Jeff Fairburn at Persimmon in 2018 (64 percent).