All resolutions, including the controversial remuneration report, have been passed by the shareholders in the room at another high spirited M&S AGM.
In what was chairman Sir Stuart Rose’s swansong before he steps down after six years at the helm of the retailer, Rose said he was passing on the baton at a time when M&S has, “never been readier, never been fitter and never been keener”.
Indicative results from the room showed that 8.6% of those who voted were against the remuneration with many shareholders voicing their concern over the high pay package given to new chief executive Marc Bolland.
The total dilutive result showed that 83.79% voted for the report, with 8% voting against. This includes withheld votes.
One shareholder said to Bolland: “I’ve still got to do the lottery, I don’t think you have.”
However chairman of the remuneration committee Steven Holliday defended the £15m pay package that Bolland is in line for pointing out that most of it will be based on how the company performs. He added that the package reflected internal rewards structures and was “in line with the external market”.
The AGM included the usual entertaining interludes with highlights including one shareholder who asked if Rose was a “secret agent” for the Russians. Rose pointed out that although he was no secret agent his father was in fact Russian.
Another shareholder critical of Bolland’s pay package said that despite his criticism he had nothing against Bolland as he “enjoys a glass of Heineken”. Bolland worked at Heineken for over 20 years before moving to the UK to run Morrisons where he stayed for just three years.
Other complaints came in about poor quality socks, decapitated gingerbread men and the fit of M&S shoes however there was still a lot of support for the departing Rose who received several long rounds of applause from the gathered shareholders.