Unilever to freeze new CEO’s fixed pay for two years

(Reuters) -Consumer goods company Unilever said on Monday its board had decided to freeze CEO Hein Schumacher’s fixed pay for the next two years, after his initial pay package was rejected by shareholders in May.

The pay deal for Unilever’s directors, including Schumacher, was rejected at its annual general meeting with a near 60% majority.

The board, which includes activist investor Nelson Peltz, had proposed a deal for Schumacher which included a base salary of 1.85 million euros ($1.96 million), a 20% increase on his predecessor Alan Jope’s pay.

Following the AGM the maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream convened a total of 37 meetings with 24 of its top shareholders to discuss the vote, deciding on the pay freeze based on feedback, it said.

“Whilst the majority of shareholders agreed that the fixed pay level for the new CEO appropriately reflected the size and complexity of the role, there was a preference that alignment with the market could have been achieved gradually, rather than in one step on appointment,” the company said in a statement.

Schumacher, who took up the role in July, will not be eligible for a fixed pay increase in 2024 and 2025. The compensation committee will review his fixed pay level in 2026.

($1 = 0.9434 euros)

(Reporting by Anchal Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Arun Koyyur)