Housebuilder Vistry defends hiking boss’s pay amid shareholder opposition

21 February 2024, 15:24

Homeowners survey
Homeowners survey. Picture: PA

Vistry said it recognised the concerns people have but was standing by the pay policy.

Housebuilder Vistry has defended the decision to hike the pay package of its boss despite shareholders revolting against the deal.

Vistry said it recognised the concerns people have but was standing by the pay policy.

The company came under pressure in August when new proposals were narrowly approved by shareholders.

Some 45% of votes were cast against the policy which more than doubles the annual bonus that the company’s chief executive can receive, and adds 50% to potential long-term incentives.

It means boss Greg Fitzgerald’s maximum pay package will grow from £3.4 million to £5.4 million, provided he meets all his targets.

Mr Fitzgerald was paid £2.5 million in 2022.

In an update to shareholders on Wednesday, Vistry said the remuneration committee, which is in charge of setting pay levels, “understands that the reasons for the number of votes cast against was primarily concerned with the step up in maximum opportunity for the CEO (chief executive officer) which was in excess of usual levels within the FTSE 250”.

It said the committee “acknowledges these concerns”, but maintains the view that the new policy is aligned with a “highly performance oriented” framework, with pay levels that incentivise bosses to create value for shareholders.

Shareholder adviser agencies ISS and Glass Lewis had both recommended that investors vote against the pay report at the company’s annual general meeting in May.

Vistry, which specialises in selling affordable homes, said higher interest rates and inflation had dampened demand in the property market throughout 2023, but that it was optimistic of conditions improving this year.

It sold about 5% fewer homes last year compared with 2022.

By Press Association