Barclays' apology for shareholders

Essex County Standard: Barclays is expected to apologise to its shareholders Barclays is expected to apologise to its shareholders

Barclays is to apologise to its shareholders when they gather for the bank's annual general meeting, in the face of a potential revolt against chief executive Bob Diamond's multimillion-pound pay package.

In a bid to calm the anger, chairman Marcus Agius - who is expected to face a bid to unseat him - will admit the bank's bosses "have not done a good enough job in articulating our case".

"On some matters we should have communicated earlier and more clearly," he will say, according to widely-trailed extracts from his speech to the meeting.

"For this I apologise and I assure you that in the future we will be engaging differently and more purposefully with shareholders in order to ensure that we obtain a broader level of support on remuneration policy and practice."

Mr Diamond received £17.7 million in salary, bonus, benefits and vested long-term share awards last year - despite admitting his bank's performance was "unacceptable".

There have been growing calls among shareholders for remuneration committee chairman Alison Carnwath to stand down and for the 2011 pay report to be thrown out.

Mr Agius will pledge to "realign" payouts in favour of shareholders and insist the bank accepts the need to adjust pay and bonuses to reflect "the new reality" of the post-crash banking sector.

His expected apology emerged as the Business Secretary urged Mr Diamond to listen to shareholders and welcomed the brewing revolt as "a good example of shareholders standing up and saying no".

"Like other top executives he's got to start listening to his own shareholders, and I get a sense that that's beginning to happen," Vince Cable told ITV News. "I'm not a Barclays shareholder, so I'm not going to put myself in their shoes. I'm certainly not going to tell them what to do, but the facts are very clear: this is a company that paid out three times as much in bonuses to its top executives as it paid out to its own shareholders and I think shareholders are drawing their own conclusions from that.

"My conclusion is that the shareholders have got to exercise their authority - they already are doing, it is proving to be effective and the Government is going to reinforce this by bringing in measures like binding votes."

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