Shareholders oppose millions in bonuses for Philips top

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Philips shareholders voted against bonuses for senior executives at the company’s general meeting on Tuesday. They are not happy with the financial results of the past year and the debacle of sleep apnea devices. It was an advisory vote. Philips “takes feedback into account,” the company says.

During the meeting, after several questions, it became clear that few shareholders were behind the bonuses for the company executive. Due to the bad year, these were already lower than expected, but even then most shareholders disagreed. 79% voted against the proposed fee.

CEO Frans van Houten has reached 64% of his target. The performance of the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Legal Officer also remained below average.

Philips has been under fire since July last year because problems arose with its breathing equipment. First-generation DreamStation devices five years or older primarily caused problems in humid or hot environments. Machine foam could crumble due to heat or humidity and if the machine is not properly cleaned. Harmful gases could also be released.

There were people who had headaches and breathing problems from the foam, among other things. The gases could cause hypersensitivity. Perhaps both were equally carcinogenic and toxic.

Profit fell 39%

The company had to recall millions of devices and has already set aside around 800 million euros to settle the matter. As a result, this year’s profit was around 39% lower at 612 million euros.

It is not yet known whether the top of Philips will receive its bonuses or not. The supervisory board will discuss it and “take into account the feedback from shareholders”.

Van Houten himself briefly answered the question. “I’m very involved with Philips, I’ve worked here all my life, I own a lot of Philips shares and I feel the pain too. I’ll stick with that.”

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