Shareholder sprung? Unilever voters approve pay deal

Business Secretary Vince Cable is determined to push ahead with regulation regarding shareholder votes. Photo: Reuters

There was a reminder today for all those who were hoping that the 'shareholder spring' will see the end of astronomical levels of executive pay.

Unilever shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the pay deals of the firm's top executives, an important check that what we have seen so far is alarm where performance has been poor or something unusual has gone on, not purely a comprehensive rejection of chief executives being paid enormous amounts.

That will have been on the agenda at Vince Cable's meeting today with more than a dozen fund managers - the people who make the big calls about where to put our pensions and investments.

There was 'lively discussion,' I'm told - not exactly surprising when you consider what is at stake, including the possibility of forcing companies to make statements to the financial markets if three quarters of their shareholders vote against board proposals on pay.

Despite the Queen's Speech commitment to bring in new laws, we are yet to see what the government's final decisions on how to proceed will look like.

But with revolt still in the air, Vince Cable is determined to go ahead.