CPPIB bucks Barrick executive pay plan

Says company 'granting outsized awards on largely discretionary basis'

VANCOUVER (Reuters) — The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) plans to vote against Barrick Gold Corp's new executive compensation plan, the investment management group said in a proxy voting notice on its website Monday.

CPPIB, which manages investments for Canada's national pension plan, said that while the gold miner has made progress in better aligning itself with shareholder interests, it has not fully addressed issues around its co-chairman's compensation.

"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," the board said in its proxy statement.

Co-chairman John Thornton, who is set to take over as Barrick's sole chairman when founder Peter Munk retires later this week, earned $9.5 million in 2013, down from $17 million in 2012, which included an $11.9 million signing bonus.

The hefty pay package was criticized by investors, who soundly rejected the company's executive payment plan in a non-binding vote at last year's annual general meeting.

Barrick unveiled a new plan in March where the largest part of top executives' compensation would be paid in units that convert into the company's shares. Executives cannot sell the shares until they retire or leave the company.

The new plan has been backed by influential proxy advisor ISS, which said earlier this month that Barrick had responded to shareholders' concerns and the changes should better link the long-term interests of management and investors.

The plan is also supported by rival adviser Glass Lewis.

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