Franco-Nevada chairman rips ‘ridiculous’ pay packages at underperforming gold companies – Business Network News’ Andrew Bell interviews Pierre Lassonde (March 7, 2015)

Mining magnate Pierre Lassonde told us on Thursday’s Commodities show that big pay packages for gold mining executives whose stocks have tanked are “obscene.”

“That is ridiculous,” the Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO 0.84%) chair said. Compensation committees, he added, “should have been far more forceful and said ‘guys, our shareholders are suffering. You’ve got to take the pain as well.’”

John Thornton, the famously well-rewarded chairman of Barrick Gold, told shareholders last week that “we have heard you loud and clear” after they voted against the company’s pay policy. But he didn’t actually promise to refund any of his 2014 compensation, valued at US$12.9-million.

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO 0.00%) chief executive Peter Marrone is giving back special share units he was granted last June after shareholders voted against Yamana’s compensation plan.

The “say-on-pay” votes are non-binding. Barrick shares (ABX.TO 0.65%) have left investors with a loss of 66 percent over five years while the loss on Yamana has been 59 percent. TSX-listed gold stocks as a whole have produced a loss of 54 percent.

“All of the companies where you had increased compensation… I think it’s obscene,” Franco-Nevada’s Lassonde said. “They should never have allowed that to happen.”

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