On Monday, consumer goods company Unilever announced its board had voted to freeze the fixed pay of CEO Hein Schumacher for the next two years after shareholders rejected his initial pay package in May.

At the company’s annual shareholder meeting the pay proposal for the directors of Unilever, including Schumacher, had been rejected with almost a 60% majority.

The proposal from the board, which included activist investor Nelson Peltz, included a deal for Schumacher which would have entailed a base salary of 1.85 million euros ($1.96 million), which would have been a 20% increase over his predecessor Alan Jope’s pay.

After the annual meeting, the company was forced to hold 37 meetings with 24 of the company’s biggest shareholders to discuss the vote, ultimately deciding on a pay freeze based on the feedback from those meetings.

In a statement, the company 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.”

After stepping into the position in July, Schumacher will not qualify for a fixed pay increase in 2024 and 2025. In 2026, the compensation committee will review his fixed pay level.

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