Lloyds investors revolt over pay as Noel Edmonds berates board
Mr Edmonds used the opportunity to rip into the company’s board as part of a long-running dispute with the lender.
Lloyds Banking Group has suffered double humiliation after more than a fifth of investors voted against pay for top bosses, while TV star Noel Edmonds publicly berated the board.
At its annual meeting on Thursday, over 20% of the bank’s shareholders cast ballots against the directors’ remuneration report, which included a £6.42 million pay packet for boss Antonio Horta-Osorio.
It came after advisory group Institutional Shareholders Services (ISS) recommended the report be rejected on the grounds that Mr Horta-Osorio’s pay packet is nearly 100 times that of the average worker.
It also flagged an “unduly complex” bonus structure and discrepancies between “pay and relative performance”.
Lloyds chairman Lord Blackwell said: “The vote has been carried, however as I said we are disappointed that a number of shareholders did not support the resolution this year and we will of course note and respond to them.”
The result will see Lloyds placed on a public register of firms in which over 20% of shareholders have revolted over a resolution.
To compound the embarrassment Mr Edmonds, who had purchased one share in Lloyds for 67p in order to attend the Edinburgh AGM, used the opportunity to rip into the company’s board as part of a long-running dispute with the lender.
The former Deal Or No Deal presenter is seeking financial redress from the bank after allegedly falling victim to fraud by former staff at HBOS Reading, which Lloyds rescued at the height of the financial crisis.
During the meeting, Mr Edmonds said: “If you want to turn it into a game show, the way you treat us I would call it ‘Pointless’.
“If you want to turn it into ‘Jail Or No Jail’ you are going in the right direction. Things are very serious but I keep asking questions and you keep ducking them.”
Mr Edmonds has secured litigation funding from Therium to pursue Lloyds through the courts as he seeks up to £60 million in compensation from the banking giant and plans to lodge legal papers by the end of June.
He is pursuing Lloyds for damages for losses allegedly suffered when his former business Unique Group was destroyed because of the fraud.
Separately, Mr Edmonds told Press Association: “Lloyds Bank have a policy of lie, deny, deceive.
“I have tried to arrive at a negotiated settlement of my situation and they just drag it out and try to break you with legal fees.
“This was an opportunity for me to actually see them face-to-face and ask simple questions.”
Mediation talks broke down late last year.
Lord Blackwell said in response to Mr Edmonds’ barrage of questions: “This isn’t a show Mr Edmonds, it’s an AGM.
“You’ve set out one version of events on what you believe happened. We have a different version of events, we do not agree.
“You wish to pursue it in court and I’m happy to leave it to the court to look at the evidence and I’m happy to let the judge decide on the basis of that evidence what the right outcome is and I hope you are too.”
Lloyds has set aside £100 million for victims of the fraud at the hands of HBOS Reading staff between 2003 and 2007.
Corrupt financiers from the branch were jailed last year for the £245 million loans scam, which destroyed several businesses and saw the villains squander the profits on high-end prostitutes and luxury holidays.
Mr Edmonds has suggested that Mr Horta-Osorio knew about the misdeeds of staff at HBOS.
Lloyds has rejected the basis of Mr Edmonds’ claim.
Mr Edmonds added: “I know I will win and I know that victory will be valuable to thousands of other people that have been so badly treated.
“I had to buy a 67p share, which has gone down and never before have I wanted something to fail as much as that share. I paid 67p to grill the chairman, I think that’s quite a good deal.”