Paddy Power-Betfair chairman Gary McGann yesterday defended the betting services group’s remuneration policy as “fair, transparent, and balanced” despite nearly a third of investors voting against it at the group’s first AGM as a merged entity.
Nearly 32% of shareholders voted against the group’s directors’ pay report at the meeting, with 68.2% backing it.
Mr McGann explained the division in votes stemmed from a change in the group’s long-term incentive plan (LTIP), rewarding executives with shares on meeting certain targets.
The company altered the LTIP in order to bring plans for both Paddy Power and Betfair directors into line in the aftermath of the merger.
He said this was done in order to ensure top talent was retained after the merger of the companies earlier this year. He said the move had been done at no extra cost to shareholders.
“We believe that our remuneration policy, which was approved at the EGM in December, is considered, fair, and transparent, and is designed to be balanced in the interests of Paddy Power-Betfair executives and shareholders,” said Mr McGann.
“It is worth bearing in mind that the aspects of the remuneration report that dissenting shareholders are uncomfortable with primarily relate to the historic past decisions, with little or no ‘go forward’ aspects to it,” he added.
Mr McGann said that as the group succeeded in retaining top talent, “significant shareholder value has been created so far, with the company set for significant future success and shareholder value creation”.
Speaking after the meeting, group chief executive Breon Corcoran said that management is happy with the progress being made in integrating the two companies and said it would “aggressively” pursue opportunities for growth.
“We can look at a broad range of things to deliver growth,” he said.
Earlier this month, Paddy Power-Betfair reported a 36% rise in profit and a 16% jump in revenue for the first quarter of the year, despite taking a €20m hit from the Cheltenham Festival.
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