It’s not often a remuneration policy gets the backing of 97% of the shareholders but that’s what Woolworths’s remuneration policy scored at the group’s annual general meeting in November 2017. That’s of course 97% of the shareholders attending the meeting in person or by proxy. Allowing for the shareholders who didn’t bother either attending or sending in a proxy, the support represented 73% of the group’s shareholder base. The results of the annual meeting reveal that 712-million shares were represented of which 8.3-million were represented in person. The other 704-million handed their proxies to the chairman to vote whichever way he deemed appropriate. Inevitably the chairman voted in favour of the policy. The big issue now is whether the board will adjust the long-term bonuses to take into consideration the R7bn hit to capital employed caused by the write-down of the David Jones acquisition. Equally is the issue of whether the remuneration policy requires such an adjustment or ca...

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