GlaxoSmithKline Shareholders Revolt Over CEO's Pay

By Agence France-Presse Rebellious shareholders gave pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline a bloody nose May 19 over a pay deal which could net chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier an estimated $35 million (30 million euros). At the company's annual general meeting, a near-unprecedented revolt by shareholders left a vote on executive pay within the company in grave danger of being rejected. "The outcome of the resolutions relating to directors' remuneration are finely balanced and will not be known until the final count is completed," the company's Chairman Christopher Hogg told shareholders. The company initially expected a result by Monday afternoon, but later said that it did not know when the outcome would be announced. Although the poll is non-binding, even if the pay deal is passed the rebellion is one of the most serious ever seen directed at a major British firm, and represents a stinging reverse for GlaxoSmithKline. The anger is mainly connected to a so-called "golden parachute" deal for Garnier, to be invoked if he leaves. Shareholders' groups have estimated that the French CEO could walk away with a deal worth 22 million pounds (US$35 million) in total benefits if he left the firm -- even if this involved his sacking. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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