Resources firm Fortescue’s shareholders vote against remuneration report

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Fortescue Metals Group adorns their headquarters in Perth, Australia

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Australia’s Fortescue said shareholders did not approve its annual remuneration report, partly due to special payments to executives last year, in a vote at an annual meeting on Tuesday.

The board of the iron ore and green energy company had approved special remuneration payments of A$1.98 million ($1.29 million) to former chief executive Elizabeth Gaines, who took up an executive director position, and A$1 million to Chief Financial Officer Ian Wells, who left in January.

The payments were for their respective “significant and transformative achievements during their time with Fortescue,” the company said in its annual report.

“Based on the votes received to date on this resolution, Fortescue will receive a first strike for the FY 2023 remuneration report,” said remuneration committee chair Penny Bingham-Hall.

“We acknowledge this feedback, particularly in relation to the special one-off payments made in the last financial year.”

Proxies CGI Glass Lewis and ISS had recommended shareholders vote against the resolution because money spent on retiring executives did not directly benefit shareholders, the Australian Financial Review said this month.

Executive chairman Andrew Forrest, Bingham-Hall and lead independent director Mark Barnaba were all voted back on to the board, although Barnaba is due to transition to another board role next year.

Fortescue has seen a string of top management departures, with at least eight in the past two years.

($1=1.5366 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Clarence Fernandez)