Telstra shareholders just hit the board with a new Australian record ‘first strike’ vote against executive pay

Telstra chairman John Mullen. (Mario Vedder/Getty Images)

Telstra shareholders have made it clear just how unhappy they are with the company’s executive remuneration policy.

The Australian reports a staggering 62% of eligible shareholders voted against Telstra’s remuneration report at today’s annual general meeting.

That’s a new record high in corporate Australia, beating the 61.4% of AMP shareholders who rejected the company’s executive remuneration report back in May.

Today’s vote means a “first strike” has been administered against Telstra’s board.

Under two-strike laws introduced in 2011, a vote of 25% or more against the remuneration report for two straight years gives shareholders the chance to spill the entire board.

Earlier today, Telstra chairman John Mullen said he was deeply disappointed, after proxy votes indicated that shareholders were preparing to administer a first strike.

“Some observers out there seem to think that directors sit around like the Witches of Macbeth scheming as to how they can manipulate incentive schemes to give improper benefit to already excessive executive salaries,” Mullen said.

However, he added that “society increasingly thinks that all big company executives are paid too much anyway”, and said Telstra’s board had spent a large amount of time trying to get the remuneration balance right.

The Australian has more here.