By Cristina Roca
EssilorLuxottica SA (EL.FR) shareholders voted down a proposal by institutional investors to appoint two new board members, handing the Franco-Italian group a victory, albeit one dampened by shareholders' weak support for executives' remuneration.
Wendy Evrard Lane and Jesper Brandgaard, who had been nominated by a group of institutional shareholders, didn't garner enough support to join the board at the company's annual general meeting Thursday. They received 43.68% and 34.15% of votes respectively.
EssilorLuxottica chairman and Luxottica founder Leonardo del Vecchio's proposed remuneration passed by 57.57%, while vice-chairman Hubert Sagnieres's pay was approved by 58.11% of votes. The remuneration of Laurent Vacherot, chief executive of Essilor, passed with 58.30% of votes.
Mr. Del Vecchio and Mr. Sagnieres have been locked in a governance dispute, delaying the integration of Essilor with Luxottica after their merger last October, and stoking investor concern. The two warring sides reached a truce earlier this week, saying they would drop all legal disputes, including a request for arbitration.
The appointment of two extra board members had been put forth by a group of institutional investors, including Comgest, Fidelity International, Phitrust and Sycomore Asset Management, in a bid to break the deadlock between Essilor and Luxottica, which control eight seats on EssilorLuxottica's board.
Discussing the search for a chief executive to sit at the helm of the new company during the AGM, Mr. Del Vecchio hinted at his preference for an internal candidate, saying there are people within the group who could be suitable.
Write to Cristina Roca at firstname.lastname@example.org; @_cristinaroca
This story was translated in whole or in part from a French-language version initially published by L'Agefi-Dow Jones.