(RTTNews) - Coca-Cola Company (KO) shareholders backed a controversial executive pay package. The 80.4% of votes cast by shareholders were in favor of last year's compensation package for Chief Executive Muhtar Kent and other senior Coke managers. That was down from 90.9% at Coke last year.
The 59.42% of votes cast by shareholders were against a shareowner proposal regarding proxy access.
The shareholders ratified the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as independent auditors of the Company to serve for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2015.
Earlier today, the Coca-Cola announced preliminary results of the shareholder vote at its annual meeting, which showed that nearly 20% of the votes cast were opposed to the resolution to approve executive compensation, compared with 9% a year ago.
David Winters, CEO of Wintergreen Advisers, said, "Last year, Wintergreen challenged Coca-Cola's pay practices and helped stop management's big grab for excessive compensation. It is gratifying to see that a year later even more investors have grown impatient with executive compensation that rewards failure."
Winters said, "The vote should pressure the Coca-Cola board to not only reform pay practices further but to move faster on fixing Coca-Cola's business. Companies across the consumer sector are dramatically restructuring - when will Coca-Cola take the aggressive steps needed to restore profit growth?"