Stung by criticism from investors, Anglo American is moving to revise its remuneration policy, a move that could see the mining company’s chief executive Mark Cutifani forfeit millions of pounds in share awards.
Speaking to the Financial Times after the release of annual results on Tuesday, Mr Cutifani said he was fully supportive of the new policy, which would be detailed in the company’s annual report due to be released next month.
“Yes, it will have an impact on what I could potentially earn but at the same time I think it is appropriate,” said Mr Cutifani.
Large institutional investors have criticised the large number of shares that Mr Cutifani and other executives could be granted as part of a long-term incentive plan. The share award is calculated by dividing executives’ salary by the share price.
When Anglo’s stock price was on its knees a year ago, Mr Cutifani was reckoned to have been granted almost 1m shares – almost three times as many as he received a year earlier. Since then shares in Anglo have surged, rising from around 500p to more than 1,300p. This had the potential to deliver windfall gains when the shares vested after three years.
But under the new policy – first reported by Sky News – Anglo will cap the payout that can be awarded under the scheme. It will also be applied retrospectively to cover 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Mr Cutifani said Anglo had taken on board shareholders’ feedback and the potential for executives to reap big rewards from the rebound in Anglo shares.
“The remuneration committee has…tried to craft something that addresses those concerns, which at the same time is fair to the participants and is a true reflection of what they signed on for when they joined [the company],” said Mr Cutifani.
“There was the potential for me to do even better in good time relative to the tougher times. Therefore we have tried to get it right. It’s not easy,” he added.
Anglo’s remuneration committee is chaired by Sir Philip Hampton. Last year, more than 40 per cent of the proxy votes at Anglo’s annual shareholder meeting in London were cast against the miner’s annual pay report. It was the latest in a spate of protests against excessive rewards for the people who run big UK companies.