Barrick faces fresh opposition to executive pay plan

Barrick faces fresh opposition to executive pay plan

Barrick's executive chairman, John Thornton, earned $13 million in 2014. That's up from the $9.5 million he made in 2013, but still below the eye-watering $17 million in 2012 which included a roughly $12 million golden hello.

Canada’s largest pension fund manager will vote against Barrick Gold’s (TSE, NYSE:ABX) executive pay structure and withhold its vote for the miner’s lead director and chairman of its compensation committee.

Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) told Reuters Friday it plans to oppose the gold miner’s executive compensation structure when discussed next week, at the annual shareholder meeting.

We continue to be concerned with the company’s practice of granting outsized awards on a largely discretionary basis, which we believe is inconsistent with the governance principle of pay-for-performance,” CPPIB said in an emailed statement.

Barrick, the world's top gold producer, lost over a third of its market value last year. However its executive chairman, John Thornton, earned $13 million in 2014. That's up from the $9.5 million he made in 2013, but still below the eye-watering $17 million in 2012 which included a roughly $12 million golden hello.

Earlier this month, three of the world's largest pension funds – Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, British Columbia Investment Management and the Netherlands’ PGGM Vermogensbeheer – said they didn't like that discrepancy at all and will vote against the re-election of the board.

CPPIB is not a large Barrick shareholder, but it quite influential voice in Canadian markets, given its size and the emphasis it places on good corporate governance. Its announcement comes barely a day after Chile’s environmental watchdog said it is filing ten new sanctions against Barrick’s shelved $8.5 billion Pascua-Lama gold, silver and copper mine straddling the border with Argentina.