BRITISH directors yesterday slammed
But the retailer last night remained confident of passing the scheme, which would give Ashley and an undisclosed number of employees 25m free shares - worth £200m in total - if it doubled earnings by 2019.
Ashley holds an almost 58 per cent stake in the firm and also serves as deputy executive chairman.
A source close to
Today's meeting - due to take place at
IOD director of corporate governance
"This type of pay package would be unthinkable for a senior executive who was not also the company's major shareholder. It raises doubts about whether the board is acting as an effective independent check on Ashley's power."
He stressed that the IOD felt that, in a public company involving other people's money, "an independently minded board is essential in order to balance the interests of controlling shareholders, minority shareholders and other stakeholders".
The group said that while Ashley's shareholding means his interests are aligned with those of other investors, the scale of his proposed pay "goes far beyond" the level needed to motivate quality directors, as recommended by the corporate governance code.
The IOD's severe criticism came after Local
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