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Australia's Harvey Norman pay plan rejected, but board survives

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By Reuters
Australia's Harvey Norman pay plan rejected, but board survives
FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk the furniture showroom at a Harvey Norman outlet in Sydney, Australia, February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed   -   Copyright  Jason Reed(Reuters)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Shareholders voted against the executive pay plan for Australia’s biggest electronics retailer, Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd <HVN.AX>, for a second year running on Wednesday, however they did not back a push to dump the board.

About 48% of the votes cast at the group’s annual meeting were against the remuneration plan proposed for Chief Executive Katie Page and other executive directors, according to the count in a company statement.

Page’s husband, Gerry Harvey, is the founder and chairman of the company.

Under Australian corporate rules, if more than a quarter of shareholders vote against a pay proposal two years in a row, another vote is instantly held to call a meeting to replace the board.

While rejecting the pay plan, Harvey Norman investors overwhelmingly opposed the call for a meeting to replace the board.

The outcome defied recommendations from the Australian Shareholders Association, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and proxy adviser Ownership Matters calling for a vote to appoint independent directors.

Harvey Norman shares fell 1.2% in a broader market <.AXJO> that rose 0.9 percent.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Stephen Coates)