Is the game up at William Hill?

William Hill has its AGM today and executive pay packets is likely to be a sticking point amongst shareholders Photo:

It didn't stop at red faces at the Aviva Annual General Meeting last week. Shareholder unhappiness has actually now forced the resignation of the boss of the insurance giant, Andrew Moss. As we reported shareholders aren't just flexing their muscles this spring, they are landing some pretty hefty punches and companies with AGMs coming up may be feeling nervous.

Andrew Moss, Chief Executive of Aviva attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2010

William Hill, the bookies, has its annual general meeting today. Shareholder revolt wouldn't be new there. Last year, even before this spread of sentiment, about a third of their shareholders chucked out the pay deals of the firm's top executives.

They may well not like the boss, Ralph Topping's £50,000 pay rise or his 'retention payment' of £1.2 million in shares. But there is a critical difference - that firm's share price is actually up a bit on this time last year. The revolts so far have happened where sky high pay has been matched with less than brilliant performance, rather than pure and simple rage at the number of noughts on the end of the boss' pay cheque.

Nonetheless, the head of the company's pay committee may still be feeling slightly anxious. Those at corporate giants Unilever and Centrica may share that feeling, also facing their AGM s this week.

While public sympathy is likely to be extremely thin on the ground I'm told that non-executive directors, crucial independent voices at big companies, are starting to turn down jobs as chairs of remuneration committees. Clearly there is a feeling that no one wants to have anything to do with pay.

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