Abercrombie and Fitch's shareholders have sent CEO Mike Jeffries and his fellow executives a harsh message: You’re getting paid too much.
About 75 percent of Abercrombie's shareholders voted against the company's executive pay packages in a June vote, according to a regulatory filing first reported on by BuzzFeed. Slightly less than 19 percent of the company's shareholders voted in favor of the pay packages.
The shareholder vote is non-binding, which means the company can award the executives the pay packages in spite of investor discontent.
Jefferies received $41.8 million in overall compensation last year, enough for him to place second among S&P 500 CEOs in a Bloomberg ranking comparing CEO pay to average industry workers.
In an emailed statement to The Huffington Post, Abercrombie spokesman Mackenzie Bruce acknowledged that the company's executives received a “negative say on pay" vote, but said the retailer has made efforts to address investor concerns.
“We believe the company and our compensation committee have taken many important strides over the past couple of years to address our stockholders' concerns regarding our compensation policies and practices and we will continue to do so in the coming year and are confident that we will,” Bruce wrote.
Abercrombie's executives aren’t alone in facing criticism from shareholders over pay in the wake of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act, which allows shareholders to submit a non-binding vote on executive pay. Citibank and Target investors are just some of those who have shown signs of discomfort with company pay levels. As a whole, however, shareholder discontent remains relatively rare.
Critics slammed Jefferies earlier this year over resurfaced statements he made to Salon in 2006, in which he admitted the brand aimed to exclude “uncool” kids. Abercrombie has since apologized for Jefferies’ statements and launched an anti-bullying campaign.