TIDMSMWH

RNS Number : 3608M

WH Smith PLC

20 January 2021

20 January 2021

WH SMITH PLC

Result of Annual General Meeting

All resolutions approved

WH Smith PLC held its Annual General Meeting for shareholders at 11.30am today, 20 January 2021. The following table shows the results of the poll on all 18 resolutions:

 
 Resolution                       Votes        %     Votes Against     %     Votes Total     % of ISC        Votes 
                                   For                                                        Voted         Withheld 
      To receive the reports 
 1    and accounts             105,543,388   99.55      480,903      0.45    106,024,291      81.02        1,869,619 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To approve the 
 2    remuneration report      66,038,774    67.43    31,894,173     32.57   97,932,947       74.83        9,959,963 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To approve the rules 
      of the WH Smith US 
 3    ESPP                     107,453,778   99.73      292,419      0.27    107,746,197      82.33         147,713 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To re-elect Carl 
 4    Cowling                  101,835,367   94.55     5,872,956     5.45    107,708,323      82.30         185,587 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 5    To elect Nicky Dulieu    106,765,066   99.12      944,237      0.88    107,709,303      82.30         184,607 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To re-elect Annemarie 
 6    Durbin                   98,030,165    91.01     9,678,352     8.99    107,708,517      82.30         185,393 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To re-elect Simon 
 7    Emeny                    100,479,660   93.29     7,227,428     6.71    107,707,088      82.30         186,812 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To re-elect Robert 
 8    Moorhead                 105,706,923   98.38     1,738,675     1.62    107,445,598      82.10         448,312 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To re-elect Henry 
 9    Staunton                 97,540,083    91.55     9,001,549     8.45    106,541,632      81.41        1,352,278 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      To re-elect Maurice 
 10   Thompson                 100,479,355   93.29     7,226,964     6.71    107,706,319      82.30         186,109 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 11   To re-appoint 
      PricewaterhouseCoopers 
      LLP as auditors          104,923,357   97.78     2,383,681     2.22    107,307,038      82.00         586,872 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 12   To authorise the Audit 
      Committee of the Board 
      to determine the 
      auditors' remuneration   104,379,652   97.32     2,873,773     2.68    107,253,425      81.95         640,485 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      Authority to make 
 13   political donations      106,951,475   99.32      734,207      0.68    107,685,682      82.28         208,228 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
      Authority to allot 
 14   shares                   99,108,724    91.98     8,638,287     8.02    107,747,011      82.33         146,590 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 15   Authority to disapply 
      pre-emption rights       106,109,751   99.52      509,017      0.48    106,618,768      81.47        1,273,455 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 16   Authority to disapply 
      pre-emption rights up 
      to a further 5 per 
      cent for acquisitions 
      or specified 
      capital investments      105,628,598   99.07      989,469      0.93    106,618,067      81.47        1,275,843 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 17   Authority to make 
      market purchases of 
      ordinary shares          106,191,351   99.07      992,201      0.93    107,183,552      81.90         710,358 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 18   Authority to call 
      general meetings on 14 
      clear days' notice       105,705,200   98.14     2,002,974     1.86    107,708,174      82.30         185,736 
     -----------------------  ------------  ------  --------------  ------  ------------  -------------  ------------- 
 

Notes

   1.   Votes "for" and "against" are expressed as a percentage of votes received. 

2. A "vote withheld" is not a vote in law and is not counted in the calculation of the proportion of the votes "for" and "against" a resolution.

   3.   At the date of the AGM the issued share capital of the Company is 130,869,582 ordinary shares. 

Resolution 2 - Directors' remuneration report

We note that while Resolution 2 to approve the Directors' Remuneration Report was passed, we acknowledge that a significant minority of shareholders, 33%, chose not to support this resolution. The Board understands that shareholders' primary concern was the salary increase of GBP25,000 which Mr Cowling received on 1 July 2020 which was previously disclosed to shareholders in the 2019 Remuneration Report.

Our 2019 Remuneration Report explained that, in accordance with best practice, Mr Cowling's salary on his appointment as Group Chief Executive was set at a lower level than his predecessor. The Remuneration Committee agreed that Mr Cowling's salary would increase by GBP25,000 per annum, subject to performance, in each of the next three years following his appointment. The Remuneration Committee believed that Mr Cowling's performance since his appointment merited the first increase in his salary with effect from 1 July 2020. Mr Cowling chose to donate this pay increase to a charity, the Trussell Trust, until October 2020. We confirm that our executive remuneration arrangements are fully in line with our Directors' Remuneration Policy which was approved by over 96% of shareholders at our 2019 Annual General Meeting.

Prior to today's Annual General Meeting, we engaged with a number of shareholders on our executive remuneration arrangements and, as a result, we confirm that the previously announced increase in Carl Cowling's salary in April 2021 will be postponed until such time as the Remuneration Committee believes that it would be appropriate to implement, but it is unlikely to do so in the financial year ending 31 August 2021. We confirm that we will continue to actively engage with shareholders on executive remuneration to ensure their views are fully understood during 2021.

Board changes

As previously announced, Suzanne Baxter did not stand for re-election at the AGM. Following Suzanne Baxter stepping down as a non-executive director, Nicky Dulieu has been appointed as Chair of the Audit Committee.

In accordance with paragraph 9.6.2 of the Listing Rules, a copy of the resolutions passed as special business at the AGM have been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism .

I Houghton

Company Secretary

-Ends-

Enquiries:

WH Smith PLC

   Mark Boyle                   Investor Relations          07879 897687 
   Nicola Hillman               Media Relations            01793 563354 

Brunswick

   Tim Danaher                                                      020 7404 5959 

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END

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January 20, 2021 09:53 ET (14:53 GMT)

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