Allianz Wins Shareholder Backing for Changes to Executive Pay

(Bloomberg) -- Allianz SE won shareholder approval for its new policy on management-board pay, avoiding the sort of investor backlash seen at some European firms in recent years.

The German insurer proposed increasing the importance of fixed salary and long-term incentives in its first changes to remuneration policy since 2010. The plan passed easily at the firm’s annual general meeting on Wednesday with 92% of the votes cast.

The new policy was put in place partly in response to European Union legislation intended to enhance shareholders’ rights. This includes a “say on pay” that allows investors to vote on the compensation awarded to company directors. While the rules won’t be binding until they’re enshrined in German law, Allianz decided to move ahead with the changes now.

Executive pay is an increasingly contentious issue in Europe. In the U.K., the Investment Association has found that shareholders are more likely to vote against management on this issue than on any other. The trade group keeps a tally of shareholder rebellions, which it defines as 20% or more of a company’s shares voting against the wishes of management. About 38% of revolts in 2017 were over executive pay, compared with 32% seeking to block the re-election of directors, according to the group.

Allianz Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete received a total payout of 10.3 million euros ($11.5 million) last year, more than double his 2017 remuneration, according to the insurer’s annual report. Helga Jung, Allianz’s head of mergers and acquisitions, got 6.75 million euros. All 10 directors received more than 2 million euros each including the cost of providing their pensions.

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