Astral shareholders say no thanks to Greenberg’s $25-million thank you
Shareholders have killed Astral Media Inc.’s plan to give the company’s outgoing chief executive officer a $25-million thank-you payment as part of the company’s merger with BCE Inc. It marks the second time in a week that a major Canadian company has been embarrassed by a lack of support and forced to pull a proposal at the last minute.
While Astral investors overwhelming approved the $3-billion deal Thursday, which will see BCE inherit content it sees as necessary to increase its foothold in Quebec, the company also asked the shareholders to approve the bonus package for CEO Ian Greenberg as a way of thanking him for building the company and to compensate him for stepping aside when the deal closes.
But Astral was forced to pull the idea at the last minute after outraged shareholders indicated they would squash the proposal if it came to a vote. Astral could have moved ahead with its plan anyway, it said, but opted to spike the payment in the name of “good governance.”