In the most high-profile shareholder protests seen in the UK for four years, investors have been directing their anger squarely at company bosses for their multimillion pound pay packets. At Weir Group last week, the chief executive’s pay was voted down in a binding vote, while investors in BP and Shire have made their opposition to CEO pay awards clear. With pay protests set to continue in the coming weeks, some are now turning their sights on the people who determine the bumper awards, rather than the recipients. This puts the chairs of remuneration committees directly in the line of fire — an unusual position for the holders of these generally low-profile posts. Few, if any, remuneration committee chairs are household names. But, in conjunction with their committee members, they wield immense power. Not only do they decide the fixed salary of the boss, but they also determine the bonus structures that provides the lion’s share of a pay package.
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