Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey has pocketed more than £5m from selling shares in the luxury retailer yesterday.

Bailey, who was controversially awarded a £27m pay package when he was promoted to chief executive earlier this year, exercised the options on shares from previous years’ awards and sold other shares for a total of £5.19m.

It is thought part of this will pay his tax bill.

The sale comes at a sensitive time after shareholders last month voted against Bailey’s share awards worth £20m, which he will begin to receive from next year.

At Burberry’s annual shareholder meeting, 52.7% of investor votes opposed the brand’s remuneration report which laid out details of the share awards to Bailey which had no performance targets attached.

He is also in line for a potential one-off performance-related award of shares worth £7.6m in addition to his £1m salary and potential £2m annual bonus.

However, Burberry chairman John Peace defended the decision and argued it was in line with other luxury brands. He said: “We were faced with competing job offers for Christopher which were much higher than his existing package.

“The board took the view that it was essential that we retain Christopher in the business. We know the amount paid to Christopher is a lot of money but much of it is performance-related and he will receive it only if Burberry performs strongly.

“And we are acutely aware that he could command a much higher package outside of the UK.”

Bailey, who has been at the brand for 13 years, retains 303,110 shares worth about £4.37m.