Denmark: Carlsberg CEO Cees ’t Hart to renounce a raise

Due to public criticism Carlsberg CEO Cees ’t Hart will have to forego a pay rise this year. Carlsberg Chairman Flemming Besenbacher said, that the top manager will essentially have his salary frozen. “Aside from marginal adjustments, we don’t expect to see increases in next year’s report, even if the results continue to be as strong as they’ve been in recent years,” Besenbacher said at the annual general meeting on Wednesday.

However, there is no need to feel pity for ’t Hart. The 61-year-old Dutchman earned last year USD8 million, a whopping 22 percent more than the year before. Since ’t Hart joined Carlsberg in June 2015, his fixed salary has largely been unchanged, while his cash and share-based bonuses have gone up.

“Even though Carlsberg’s management has done a good job to lead the business in the right direction, we still believe that the total payroll for Carlsberg’s management is too high and that the variable portion of the payroll is too big,” said Claus Wiinblad, Senior Vice President, Danish Equities at Arbejdsmarkedets Tillægspension (ATP), a Danish Pension Fund, as quoted by Bloomberg.

ATP, which is one of Europe’s biggest pension funds is one of around 41,000 registered shareholders of the Danish Brewing group and has already raised its voice at Carlsberg’s last annual meeting in March 2017, calling ‘t Hart’s renumeration “excessive”.

As of 31 December 2016, the company’s largest shareholder was the Carlsberg Foundation, holding 30% of the share capital and 75% of the votes. In addition, Massachusetts Financial Services Company has informed the brewer that their holding of Carlsberg shares exceed 5% of the share capital.

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