Proxy adviser tells investors to vote against ‘excessive’ pay of Associated British Foods boss

Sebastian McCarthy
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Associated British Foods (ABF) owns fashion chain Primark (Source: Getty)

An influential advisory group today recommended that shareholders vote against the "excessive" pay package of the Associated British Foods (ABF) boss.

The firm’s chief executive George Weston, who belongs to the billionaire family that owns a majority stake in ABF, earns approximately 129 times the salary of the company’s average employee, with proxy firm Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) advising shareholders to oppose the company’s remuneration report.

Pirc also recommended that shareholders vote against the re-election of the company’s non-executive director Emma Adamo, saying that she was "not considered to be independent as she is a representative of Wittington Investments Limited, which holds 54.5 per cent of the company’s voting rights".

"There is insufficient independent representation on the board," it added.

The vote at ABF’s annual general meeting, which takes place on Friday, comes a month after the London-based conglomerate reported that operating profits in its sugar business had more than halved in the year to September.

However, despite the company’s sugar arm being hit by lower EU prices, a more robust performance from the company’s fashion chain Primark and its grocery business have helped offset the losses.