Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan joins list opposed to Bombardier board chair

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is joining a growing list of shareholders who say they won't support the re-election of Pierre Beaudoin as chair of the board of directors of Bombardier Inc.

Teachers' Pension Plan also opposed to company's non-binding resolution on executive pay

Bombardier Inc. board chair Pierre Beaudoin oversees a special shareholders meeting in this photo from March 2015. Several institutional shareholders say they are not supporting the re-election of Beaudoin as board chair at the company's upcoming annual meeting. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is joining a growing list of shareholders who say they won't support the re-election of Pierre Beaudoin as chair of the board of directors of Bombardier Inc. 

In statement posted on its website, Teachers also said it won't support a Bombardier board non-binding resolution on "say on pay" for company executives.

The move by Teachers follows a similar announcement made by a major shareholder, the massive the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

On Monday, the Caisse said it would withhold its votes on the re-election of Beaudoin, saying Bombardier should have an independent board chair. The Caisse said it also wouldn't back the company's proposal on executive pay.

Bombardier should "clearly be listening to its shareholders," Quebec Economy Minister Dominique Anglade said, according to a report from Reuters.

The expanding list of shareholders who are voting against Beaudoin and the company's executive pay proposal comes after Bombardier was hit by a backlash for giving top executives raises while it was getting financial aid from the governments of Canada and Quebec. The company subsequently changed the pay plan in a bid to head off the criticism.

"Our assessment of recent events confirms the need for independent board leadership," Teachers said in a statement for its reason not to support the re-election of Beaudoin, who is part of the family that has majority control of Bombardier.

On the issue of executive pay, Teachers said it has concerns with Bombardier's approach.

"While we acknowledge company performance is improving, the onus is on the board, through the [compensation discussion and analysis in the company's annual proxy statement], to communicate clearly to shareholders a compelling rationale to support compensation decisions," Teachers said.

"Unfortunately, through our assessment of Bombardier's [compensation discussion and analysis] we found important information missing (i.e. actual performance) to support the compensation decisions of the board and as a result find that the resulting linkage between pay and performance is not sufficiently justified. 

British Columbia Investment Management Corp., an institutional investor group, said it also plans to vote its nearly seven million shares against Bombardier's compensation policy and will oppose non-independent directors.

"The program is structured in a way that does not sufficiently align pay with performance, as it lacks disclosure and contains features that are not in line with best practice," it says on its website.

The Quebec Federation of Labour's Solidarity Fund has also said it won't back the re-election of Beaudoin or the executive pay plan. The fund says it will also oppose the re-election of Bombardier board members who sit on human resources committee.

with files from The Canadian Press