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Next faces investor backlash over CEO bonus

The IVIS has urged that shareholders vote against the pay rise for Wolfson as there is ‘no clear indication’ whether the company has or intends to repay government support

Next plc is facing a potential backlash from the Institutional Voting Information Service (IVIS) as the retailer’s chief executive, Simon Wolfson, has received the highest pay since 2015, while benefiting from government support.

According to the Guardian, the Institutional Voting Information Service (IVIS), which is part of the Investment Association and advises investors on corporate governance, has marked Next plc’s annual remuneration report with a ‘red top’ warning. 

The association suggested that shareholders vote against pay rise for the executive, and it has raised concerns about the bonuses at a time when the company benefited from government support, including furlough pay for workers and business rates relief.

Wolfson’s pay will reportedly be put to the vote on Thursday (19 May). 

He took home almost a 50% pay rise last year of £4.4m, after being awarded an annual bonus worth 100% of his basic salary and two share bonuses based on long-term performance.

According to a report seen by the Guardian, IVIS said: “Shareholders will need to be satisfied that the payment of bonuses was appropriate in a year when the company again participated in the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and there is no clear indication whether the company has or intends to repay the support received.”

Retail Sector has contacted Next for comment.

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