Oracle shareholders protest against Larry Ellison’s 'excessive' pay

Railpen in the UK, and PGGM of the Netherlands file letter with the SEC


Two groups of Oracle shareholders have expressed “deep concern” at the governance of the company, criticising the “excessive” pay handed to co-founder and chief technology officer Larry Ellison.

The pension funds - Railpen in the UK and PGGM of the Netherlands - will file a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission attacking the management of the software company today, according to the Financial Times.

The majority of the group’s shareholders have voted against the executive compensation scheme in each of the past three years, despite former CEO Ellison already reducing his pay. The executive chairman lowered his compensation, including options, from $78 million (£52 million) in 2013 to $67.3 million (£42 million) last year.

However, shareholders say that this is still not enough.

Furthermore, the two pensions funds believe that the problem have been exacerbated by a lack of communication, with senior executives and board members failing to engage with shareholders over the issue in recent years.  

Catherine Jackson, senior adviser responsible for investment at PGGM, said that “pay is just one issue”, and “there is a concern over board accountability and whether it is independent enough to stand up to Mr Ellison”.

“The lack of communication heightens this concern,” she said.

Deborah Gilshan, senior investment manager at Railpen, added that attempts to set up meetings with directors have been ignored.

Representatives of the two funds travelled to Oracle’s annual investor meeting in San Francisco last November, but were not granted a meeting.

The letter to the SEC read: "Over the past four years, PGGM and Railpen have together written several letters to certain directors to begin a constructive dialogue for addressing our governance concerns. Our representatives have sought meetings at various locations convenient to those directors. Despite numerous attempts over this period, no meeting with any director has been forthcoming."

Oracle declined to comment.


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