Wm Morrisons Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) has seen a huge revolt against the directors’ pay package at its annual meeting.

Over 70% of investors voted against the directors’ remuneration resolution, which had stripped out the costs of Covid-19 in calculating management bonuses.

David Potts, chief executive, is set to receive the maximum £1.7mln bonus even though profits after coronavirus costs fell to £165mln from £435mln after costs of £290mln that the grocer attributed to the virus.

Potts total pay package for the year including the bonus was £4.2mln including long-term incentives and the company’s remuneration committee said it did not feel that he should be penalised for helping the country cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Morrisons added it was a matter of “sincere regret” to the committee that it had not been able to convince a majority of shareholders or the proxy voting agencies of the merits of its recommendation.

“In the Committee’s view, Morrisons performed exceptionally well for the nation during the first year of Covid with the executives widely recognised for their leadership, clarity, decisiveness, compassion and speed of both decision making and execution. 

“The committee looks forward to re-engaging with shareholders, listening to their views, and once again making the case for why discretion was used in a genuinely exceptional year which produced a genuinely exceptional performance from the executive leadership,” it said.

In total, 70.12% of votes cast were against the resolution to approve the report, while 29.88% were in favour.

Shares in Morrison dropped 0.85% to 175.2p.