No Free Lunch 

Limits of influence

Paul Jackson

Limits of influence

How much is success worth? And to what extent can private shareholders make a difference? Last month, this column drew attention to JD Sports Fashion (JD.), whose sixfold share rise over the past five years has catapulted it into the FTSE 100. The board considered that Peter Cowgill, chairman and chief executive, deserved an extra bonus of £6m, a notion so out of the ordinary that shareholders’ approval was needed. In the event, 80.6 per cent of votes backed it at JD’s annual meeting on 3 July. However, only 69.5 per cent votes supported the remuneration report. Since the Pentland Group owns 57 per cent of JD’s shares, this suggests that two-thirds of the independent shareholders’ votes must have opposed it.

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