Kier shareholders reject Government contractor’s pay deal for top bosses


Shareholders in Government contractor Kier have succeeded in a major rebellion over the pay deal for its top executives.

The listed firm’s executive pay policy was rejected by investors, with 53.9% of votes going against the construction business, at its annual general meeting on Friday.

In the year to June 2019, Kier paid its board a total of £2.1 million despite the company sinking to a £245 million pre-tax loss over the same period.

Executives were paid less than the £5.5 million they received the year before as they did not receive any bonuses for the current year.

Nevertheless, investors were still outraged by the pay deal which handed Haydn Mursell, who was ousted as Kier’s chief executive in January, £423,000.

Investor advisory funds ISS and Glass Lewis both suggested that shareholders vote down the remuneration report at the meeting.

Kier, which is one of the UK’s largest builders of roads and railways, said it contacted its largest shareholders ahead of the vote to hear their views on the pay deal.

It said the company remuneration committee will “engage further” with its shareholders and proxy advisers to gain an understanding for the reasons behind the failure.

The firm added that it will consult with shareholders when reviewing its pay policy, which they will be asked to approve at next year’s AGM.

The rejected pay deal also saw new chief financial officer Simon Kesterton receive a £475,000 salary, which was 18% higher than predecessor Bev Dew.

In September, Phil Cox quit as chairman of the company as it counted the cost of restructuring its middle management and contracts which went wrong.

The company has lost more than three quarters of its share value since the start of 2019 after it saw its order book decline over the year.

Earlier on Friday, Kier announced that operations chief Claudio Veritiero was the latest to be ousted from the company, with immediate effect, as part of its efforts to slash costs.

Shares in the company were up 2.4% to 89.7p.