The boss of the production company behind Peppa Pig faces a second shareholder revolt over fat-cat pay in two years – with his firm set to join a list of 16 facing shame for TWICE defying Theresa May’s orders to curb boardroom excess.
Darren Throop, chief executive of Entertainment One, has been slammed by City advisers ahead of the company’s annual meeting on Thursday after pocketing a 62 per cent pay rise over just three years.
The TV and film production company could become the 17th firm to be named on Theresa May’s public register for a second time for failing to address concerns over executive pay.
The boss of the production company behind Peppa Pig faces a second shareholder revolt over fat-cat pay in two years
The Prime Minister commissioned the register last year to highlight firms that had received high levels of opposition from shareholders over bosses’ rewards.
Canadian Throop, 54, has seen his basic salary rise every year since 2015 to £950,000 despite ‘no compelling explanation’, influential shareholder advisers claim. Including bonuses, his total pay package last year was nearly £1.9 million.
If the number voting against the pay report tops 20 per cent, Entertainment One will join the 16 firms which have twice found themselves named on May’s ‘list of shame’.
Some of Britain’s biggest firms have failed to justify large bonuses or pay rises in the eyes of their shareholders for successive years.
They include drugs giant AstraZeneca and advertising giant WPP, which faced revolts over multi-million pound pay packets for founder Sir Martin Sorrell who was ousted this year.
Despite being based in Toronto, Entertainment One is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a value of £1.7 billion.
Four of the worst – and how they angered their investors
Name: Darren Throop, 54
Company: Entertainment One
Pay last year: £1.9 million
The Canadian boss of the film and TV company has seen his salary rise 62 per cent over three years, on top of bonuses.
Name: Kenny Alexander, 49
Pay last year: £18 million
Faced a 44 per cent vote against his £18 million of share options, which were part of a scheme worth £45 million.
Name: Pascal Soriot, 59
Pay last year: £9.4 million
The French chief executive’s pay was down from £14.3 million in 2016, but 35 per cent of investors still rebelled over the size of his bonus and whether targets were tough enough.
Name: Stephen Carter, 54
Pay last year: £4.3 million
Former Downing Street chief of strategy to Gordon Brown, he angered 36 per cent of shareholders with bonus increases at exhibitions firm.
The company, chaired by former Asda boss Allan Leighton, is best known for creating kids TV show Peppa Pig, but also produces and distributes blockbuster films such as The Hunger Games franchise.
Shareholder advisory firms Glass Lewis and ISS are urging investors to vote against the company’s remuneration report for a second year running.
They claim pay should be linked to performance, which is why normal executive pay packages are made up largely of bonuses. Throop’s salary is expected to be hiked by 7 per cent a year from 2019.
Named and Shamed: The dual offenders
These 16 companies havetwice breached the 20 per cent threshold of shareholders voting against executive pay – resulting in TWO appearances on Theresa May’s public List of Shame
Glass Lewis said: ‘At a minimum, we expect a company to provide a thorough and convincing explanation for significant increases in base pay, which this company has failed to do.’
Last year, Entertainment One was hit by one of the biggest pay revolts in the City after 38 per cent of shareholders voted against the remuneration report.
That vote is only advisory, but as many as 47 per cent of investors also cast votes against the remuneration policy, which is binding and voted on every three years. Entertainment One’s directors narrowly avoided defeat and so they did not have to draw up a new pay policy for directors. But the firm made its way on to May’s fat-cat register which was launched last year – where companies that have faced revolts of more than 20 per cent are exposed and must explain how they are addressing shareholders’ concerns.
In reports seen by The Mail on Sunday, Glass Lewis and ISS both attack the company.
Glass Lewis said: ‘We are concerned about the successive significant salary increases awarded to the CEO and the [remuneration] committee’s poor response to shareholder dissent.’
ISS also expressed concerns about a £7.7 million share bonus handed to Throop last year that will pay out in two years if he hits targets.
Entertainment One’s annual report says the salary increases were to keep pay competitive.
But ISS said: ‘Whilst the company’s explanation on the competitiveness of the market in which the company operates is acknowledged, it remains a major concern that no compelling explanation has been provided for shareholders with regard to the executive directors’ salary increases.’
Entertainment One said it had spoken to 60 per cent of shareholders since last year’s meeting and added that it needed competitive salaries because most management are based in North America, where pay tends to be higher.