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Ashtead clashes with investors over chief executive's £6.6m pay

Clash: Investors advised to vote against Brendan Horgan's stunning package

FTSE 100 giant Ashtead is at odds with shareholders over CEO Brendan Horgan’s £6.6million salary

  • Investors advised against voting against the stunning package for Horgan
  • Also to prevent the re-election of Lucinda Riches, head of the pay committee
  • Miss Riches has written to shareholders to ward off a revolt

FTSE 100 giant Ashtead is in a dispute with shareholders over the £6.6million salary of its chief executive.

A confrontation this week will be the second fight for boss rewards in just 12 months. Investors have been advised to vote against the stunning package for Brendan Horgan, the plant rental company’s US chief executive, at tomorrow’s annual meeting.

They were also recommended to block the re-election of Lucinda Riches, chair of the pay committee that signs off executive bonuses.

Clash: Investors advised to vote against Brendan Horgan's stunning package

Clash: Investors advised to vote against Brendan Horgan’s stunning package

In a most unusual intervention, Miss Riches has written to shareholders to stave off a revolt. More than a third voted against the salary report and policy last year, which contains proposed compensation for the future.

As a result, Ashtead was placed on the Investment Association’s “List of Shame”.

This exposes companies that have suffered significant shareholder protest over salaries and bonuses for top executives. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which advises investors on voting at annual meetings, said the company’s executive pay “is not in line with market standards.”

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She lamented a “lack of substantive action” on concerns raised last year. Horgan’s latest pay package, which includes his annual salary and a range of bonuses, is even higher than the £6.2million he was paid the year before.

In a letter sent to investors last week, shown to the Mail on Sunday by a shareholder source, Riches says Ashtead is “extremely disappointed” by the ISS’s advice and its opposition to her re-election.

She said the accusations that shareholders’ concerns had not been addressed were “unjustified,” adding that investors were “extensively consulted” on the salary proposals.

Riches acknowledged that there had been “clearly some disagreements” with shareholders over the past year. The company leases machinery and equipment to the construction industry and provides other industrial services.

Riches said in her letter that “supportive responses” from shareholders led her to conclude “no further action…was required.”

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