Does it matter that almost 30% of Glanbia’s shareholders formally voted against the company’s remuneration policies? As Lorcan Roche Kelly mentioned in last week’s Irish Farmers Journal, the fact that the Tirlán farmer directors, who represent over 28% of the shares, voted in favour of the much-criticised pay policies at Glanbia, saved them from being rejected by the majority of shareholders.

In many cases, the shareholders are major fund managers with a broad portfolio of investments, so we must assume that they think long and hard before publicly coming out against a plc’s remuneration policy. We have dealt before with the mismatch between Glanbia’s pay to its most senior officers relative to its size, market capitalisation and profitability.

While due process and governance issues have been scrupulously observed, the basic facts of a rapid increase in the chairman’s and former chief executive’s remuneration over the last few years is clear and future remuneration policy proposals have now been publicly rejected by key investors in its shares.

At the Glanbia annual general meeting (AGM) last week, the chairman said he would respond to the investors’ concerns before the regulatory deadline of 1 November. It should be pointed out that even if the full AGM rejected the remuneration proposal, the vote would only be advisory, rather than legally forcing action to be taken.

However, from a Tirlán point of view, it’s legitimate that its directors on the plc board be asked to justify their voting stance in, effectively bringing Glanbia plc into such public disrepute. It may be worth remembering that both Tirlán and Glanbia were established and developed by farmers and I must admit to some irritation at last week’s meeting to hear the chairman imply his relief at the reduction in farmer numbers on the plc board.

Nobody should question the fact that as members of the plc board the Tirlán members are there to do their best for Glanbia plc. They are not there to represent the interests of Tirlán, but that should not prevent them forming their own views as to what is in realty in the plc’s real interest. It is questionable if their vote in backing such remuneration policies served either Tirlán’s or the plc’s broader well-being.