UPDATE 2-Ocado pay policy opposed by 19% of votes cast at annual meeting

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Adds Ocado shares paragraph 7, detail paragraphs 6 and 9 to 12

- Some 19% of votes cast at Ocado's OCDO.L annual shareholder meeting on Monday opposed the online grocer and technology group's proposed new pay policy that could see boss Tim Steiner pick up a bonus share award of up to 15 million pounds ($19 million).

The FTSE 100 group, which sells its robotic technology to retailers around the world and also has an online supermarket joint venture with Marks & Spencer MKS.L, put forward a new remuneration policy and performance share plan as its previous scheme comes to an end this year.

Some advisory groups had urged investors to vote against the new policy and plan, saying the changes could lead to excessive payouts.

High executive pay in Britain has long been contentious, particularly where pay for ordinary workers has risen more slowly.

According to a stock market filing from Ocado, 19.43% of votes cast at the meeting opposed the remuneration policy and 19.38% of votes cast opposed the group's 2024 performance share plan. Resolutions on both still passed comfortably, however.

The plan could see Steiner, Ocado's chief executive, awarded shares worth up to 14.8 million pounds, or 1,800% of his annual base salary of 824,570 pounds, from 2027 if the group's share price hits 29.69 pounds.

Ocado shares closed at 357 pence on Monday.

The proposed payout reflects Steiner's "unique position as a founder and his longer-term focus and strategic vision," Ocado said in its annual report published in February.

Founded by three former Goldman Sachs bankers, including Steiner, in 2000, Ocado has divided opinion like few other stocks.

Some view it as the future of grocery shopping, while others see it as a costly and complicated venture that will never make sustained profits.

The stock hit a record high during the pandemic, which triggered a boom in online spending, but has tumbled since and is down 29% year-on-year.

Last year, 30% of votes cast at Ocado's annual meeting opposed the directors' pay report and there was similar opposition at 2020's meeting against a pay report which included a 58.7 million pound package for Steiner.

($1 = 0.7970 pounds)


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