A significant chunk of Smith & Nephew‘s (FTSE:SN; NYSE:SNN) shareholders withheld their endorsement or voted outright against a $2.5 million "golden hello" for new CEO Olivier Bohuon after an advisory board recommended a veto.
About 30% of the British health care giant’s backer’s either voted against the company’s compensation report or abstained from voting, according to The Guardian.
"It is unclear how a golden hello benefits shareholders," proxy advisor Pirc said ahead of Smith & Nephew’s annual meeting, noting that cash bonuses neared 100% for top management even though SNN missed financial targets, according to the newspaper.
About 8% of shareholders vetoed the pay plan outright, with another 22% deliberately abstaining, according to The Guardian.
Smith & Nephew posted profits of $279 million, or 16 cents per share, on sales of $1.12 billion for the 3 months ended Dec. 31, 2011. That’s a 3.7% addition to the top line, although profits were flat at a 0.4% gain, compared with profits of $278 million, or 21 cents per share, on sales of $1.07 billion during the same period in 2010.
For the full year, profits were $961 million, or 65 cents EPS, on sales of $4.27 billion, down 0.8% and up 7.8%, respectively, compared with profits of $969 million, or 69 cents EPS, on sales of $3.96 billion during 2010.