Almost a fifth of shareholders at Drax rejected a motion to approve its remuneration report increasing executive pay during the company’s annual general meeting yesterday (17 April).

Drax group chief executive Will Gardiner received £1.9 million in remuneration in 2018, up from £790,000 the year previously when he was chief finance officer.

Gardiner’s remuneration includes a £417,000 annual bonus (35 per cent of which was deferred into shares) on top of a £530,000 base salary.

The deferred shares are paid after three years subject only to continued service.

Meanwhile Andy Koss, chief executive of Drax Power, received £806,000 in total, up from £632,000 the year previously.

At the meeting held in London, 19.33 per cent of shareholders rejected resolution two – to approve the annual statement to shareholders by the chairman of the remuneration committee and the annual report on remuneration.

According to the notice of the AGM the annual report on remuneration gives details of the implementation of the company’s existing directors’ remuneration policy in terms of payments made to them in connection with their performance and that of the company during the year ended 31 December 2018.

The vote was advisory and will not affect the way in which the directors’ remuneration policy has been implemented.

Furthermore 41.77 per cent of shareholders voted against resolution 15 – the authority to make EU political donations to a specified limit.

Responding to the results, a Drax spokesperson said: “All payments and awards to directors are in line with the remuneration policy approved by shareholders in 2017, which was in place at the time the earnings were made and are linked to company performance.

“In 2018 Drax’s share price increased by more than 30 per cent delivering strong returns for our shareholders.

“We respect our shareholders’ views including those who have voted against the political donations resolution. It is important we listen to them.

“Our engagement with them is ongoing in order for us to continue to listen to their views and provide more information about our stakeholder engagement activities.”

Drax also said that it does not support “any political party” or provide financial support to further the political aims of any group.

The spokesperson added: “Like many businesses it is important for us to engage with a range of stakeholders including politicians, and this can incur costs.

“As a growing business we expect there could be an increase in this activity – we have recently grown from a single site power generator to have operations across Britain following the successful acquisition of a portfolio of flexible, renewable and low-carbon assets at the start of the year.”

A protest organised by Biofuelwatch was held outside the AGM and Drax’s power station in Yorkshire yesterday.

What to read next