Burberry recruits NiChionna to pay committee after shareholder spats
Burberry has recruited Orna NiChionna to chair its remuneration committee as the luxury brand seeks to soothe relations with shareholders after a series of rebellions over pay.
NiChionna joins the board with immediate effect and will oversee the remuneration committee at its next meeting on 6 February. She will take over from Fabiola Arredondo, who has chaired the committee since August 2016.
Burberry stressed NiChionna's backround at large UK companies and as a remuneration committee chair as reasons for her appointment. It said Arredondo, who is based in the US, was stepping down to concentrate on her commitments there. She will stay on the remuneration committee to help with the transition.
NiChionna is the senior independent director at Saga and Royal Mail, where she chairs the remuneration committee. She has also been senior independent director at HMV, Northern Foods and Bupa. Her appointment gives Burberry someone based in the UK with experience of dealing with British investors' concerns over pay.
A third of Burberry's shareholders failed to support the company's remuneration report at its July shareholder meeting – the latest in a string of shareholder protests over pay at the company, which paid former chief executive Christopher Bailey £3.5m in 2016.
Burberry was one of the most prominent names on a list of investor uprisings compiled by the Investment Association in December. The association said it hoped publication of the list would prompt boards to put their houses in order amid public disquiet over high executive pay as wider living standards are squeezed.
John Peace, Burberry's chairman, said: "We are delighted to welcome Orna to the board. In addition to the experience she brings on remuneration matters, her strong UK plc and business experience will be a great asset to Burberry as we continue to focus on delivering long-term shareholder value. On behalf of the board I would like to thank Fabiola for chairing the remuneration committee through a period of significant change."
NiChionna's appointment is the latest in a series of changes at the top of Burberry. Peace has announced his departure after 16 years as chairman and Bailey will leave this year after he was replaced as CEO by Marco Gobbetti.