Stéphane Richard is backtracking. Faced with the controversy, the outgoing president of the Orange group waives his severance bonus. The General Assembly, scheduled for Thursday, May 19, was to award him 475,000 euros gross. Eco guest of franceinfo, Loïc Dessaint, managing director of Proxinvest, a shareholder advisory firm, opposed this additional remuneration: “For us, there was no reason to compensate him.”
At general meetings, votes on compensation are increasingly tense. According to Scalens, who observes listed companies, the leaders of the CAC 40 have never been so remunerated: for the year 2021, they received, on average, 8.7 million euros. For his part, Loïc Dessaint recalls that “two leaders, this year, will reach European summits” : Carlos Tavares, at Stellantis, whose remuneration Proxinvest estimates at 66 million euros, and Bernard Charlès, the general manager of Dassault Systèmes, “which goes from around 20 to 44 million euros”. Beyond these extreme cases, the specialist observes that “many annual bonuses are paid out at very high levels.”
“These senior leadershe continues, tend to compare themselves to their international competitors, in the United States, where remuneration is rather around 15 million euros, two to three times more than in France. That drives pay up. They compare themselves very little to their own employees, except in a few exceptional cases. For example, at Thales, where Mr. Caine will be increased by 6%”replicating the increase in wages within the group.
Since the Sapin II law voted in 2016, shareholders can block remuneration, if they wish. They’re doing it “quite rarely”observes Loïc Dessaint: “It takes more than 50% of the votes for it to be rejected. It’s rare, but it’s happening and the challenge rates are still quite high.”