East Anglia: Insurance group Aviva hit by shareholder revolt

AVIVA suffered a major shareholder revolt today after more than half of the votes at its annual meeting failed to back the insurer’s pay awards.

In another sign of growing investor activism, the defeat came despite chief executive Andrew Moss this week waiving a near-5% pay rise which would have taken his annual salary over the �1 million mark.

Some 50% of votes placed outside the AGM went against the pay report, while an additional 9% were withheld, in one of the biggest ever shareholder protest votes.

The remuneration report would have been thrown out completely had new measures to give shareholders binding votes, as put forward by Business Secretary Vince Cable and backed by investor groups included the Association of British Insurers, been brought into effect.

The embarrassing defeat for Aviva, formerly known as Norwich Union, follows a similar showdown between shareholders and banking giant Barclays, in which nearly a third of votes failed to back its remuneration report after chief executive Bob Diamond took a �17.7 million pay package for 2011.