Smiths scraps executive share windfalls after investor backlash | Business News


One of Britain’s biggest industrial companies has ditched plans for a multimillion pound share windfall for its top executives following a investor backlash.

Sky News has learnt that Smiths Group consulted its top shareholders about a one-off award that City sources said on Tuesday would have been worth “a substantial sum” to the company’s most senior managers.

Smiths, which last year agreed the sale of its medical devices arm for more than £2bn, is one of relatively few industrial conglomerates in the FTSE-100 index.

It makes products such as detection scanners for airports and parts for satellites, and was a supplier of components to the Mars Rover.

Last year, Paul Keel replaced Andy Reynolds Smith as the group’s chief executive, amid investor frustration at its performance over a period of several years.

Further details of the additional pay awards proposed by the board were unclear, although a person close to Smiths said it would be inaccurate to describe them as being worth tens of millions of pounds.

One investor who was consulted on the plans described them as “ludicrous”, saying that Smiths management was already well-paid.

According to the company’s 2021 annual report, Mr Reynolds Smith was paid a total of £2.75m in the last financial year, with its finance chief paid nearly £1.6m, including bonuses and long-term share awards.

News that the proposed one-off share awards were abandoned after feedback from shareholders comes amid another fractious annual meeting season, with protests over boardroom pay at a string of blue-chip companies.

Smiths declined to comment.


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