Smiths drops executive stock bargains after investor backlash | Economic news

One of Britain’s biggest industrial firms has scrapped plans for a multi-million pound share windfall for its senior executives following a backlash from investors.

Sky News has learned that Smiths Group has consulted with its major shareholders over a one-off price which city sources say would have been worth “a substantial sum” to the company’s most senior executives.

Smiths, which last year agreed to sell off its medical devices arm for more than £2bn, is one of relatively few industrial conglomerates on the FTSE-100 index.

It makes products such as detector scanners for airports and parts for satellites, and was a component supplier for the Mars Rover.

Paul Keel replaced Andy Reynolds Smith as group chief executive last year, amid investor frustration with his performance over a period of years.

Further details of the additional compensation offered by the board were unclear, although a person close to Smiths said it would be inaccurate to describe them as being worth tens of millions of pounds.

An investor who was consulted on the plans called them “ridiculous”, saying Smiths management was already well paid.

According to the company’s 2021 annual report, Mr Reynolds Smith received a total of £2.75million in the last financial year, with his chief financial officer paying nearly £1.6million, including bonuses and long-term stock awards.

The news that the proposed single stock awards have been scrapped after shareholder feedback comes amid another turbulent annual meeting season, with protests over board pay at a string of blue chip companies .

Smiths declined to comment.

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