In a stark reminder of the pressures of public listing, City firm Gateley faced a shareholder revolt last week after nearly 50% of eligible votes were cast against the approval of executive pay at the firm’s annual general meeting.

Some 28.02 million votes were cast against the resolution to approve directors' remuneration, while 30.97 million were in favour. Around 1.4 million votes were withheld.

Gateley said some voters had been influenced by a report produced by a proxy shareholder services company, which recommended to institutional shareholders that they vote against this resolution.

‘The board intends to engage both with the relevant institutional shareholders and the proxy shareholder services company itself to better understand their respective positions, as well as to explain to each why the board believes that the findings in the report are not based upon all of the information which is relevant and are, therefore, inappropriate in this instance,’ Gately said.

It is currently unclear what the recommendation was or what the report was based on.

The firm's annual report for the year ending 30 April 2020 shows that former chief executive Michael Ward was paid a salary of £260,000, and that £830,000 was spent in total on directors’ remuneration, down from £1.09m in 2019.  

The firm said salary increases awarded during the year 'reflect the committee’s intention for executive remuneration to be competitively positioned for the commencement of the 2021 financial year'. Bonuses were not awarded. 

The firm has cancelled both its interim and final year dividend for 2020 due to Covid-19 and reported a slip in profits at the end of September. Audited preliminary results show pre-tax profits for the year to 30 April falling by 6.9% to £15.9m on revenue up 6.1% to £103.5m.

Shares in Gateley Holdings plc currently stand at 123p. They peaked at 218p in February this year.