Barrick Gold faces shareholder wrath over pay hikes at annual meeting Tuesday – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – April 27, 2015)

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Toronto-based mining giant’s board of directors in hot water over ‘exorbitant’ executive compensation plan.

Barrick Gold Corp. is in for a showdown Tuesday at its annual meeting in Toronto amid investor blowback over its controversial executive pay scheme that includes a 35 per cent salary hike for its board chairman.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s largest pension fund manager, joined three other big pension funds Friday in saying it too will vote against the Toronto mining giant’s executive compensation plan awarding John Thornton $12.9 million.

The CPP Investment Board also said it plans to withhold support from Brett Harvey, one of Barrick’s board members and the chair of its compensation committee, which approved the 2014 pay hikes for Barrick’s top brass in a year when shares plunged 33 per cent and the miner lost $2.91 billion.

“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,” said the CPPIB in a statement.

Just over a week ago, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp. said they would vote against the re-election of the entire board, citing lack of mining expertise and concerns over its remuneration decisions.

The Netherlands-based PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V., which is one of Europe’s biggest pension funds, said it will also vote against Barrick’s executive pay packages.

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