(Adds CPPIB withholding vote in paragraph 2)
By Allison Lampert and Matt Scuffham
MONTREAL/TORONTO May 9 Bombardier Inc
faced fresh pension fund opposition to the re-election of its
executive chairman and the Quebec government said the plane and
train maker should listen to the growing number of institutional
shareholders citing governance concerns.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the
country's largest pension fund manager, withheld its vote for
the re-election of Pierre Beaudoin at Bombardier's annual
meeting on Thursday.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) also withheld its
vote on his re-election on Tuesday, echoing similar moves by
Quebec and British Columbia funds.
"Our assessment of recent events confirms the need for
independent board leadership," the OTTP, which does not disclose
its position, said on its website.
Beaudoin, a former chief executive, is a scion of
Bombardier's founding family, which controls the company through
its dual-class share structure. The shareholders' decision
follows a recent outcry over controversial executive pay hikes
at Bombardier, which Beaudoin later agreed to forgo and other
executives agreed to defer.
Beaudoin is expected to stay on this week despite the
opposition, two company sources said. The family's controlling
stake means the pension funds' moves are largely symbolic.
The pay raises of up to 50 percent for 2016 came after
Bombardier received more than $1 billion in federal and
provincial government funding, sparking protests outside
Bombardier's Montreal headquarters.
Quebec Economy Minister Dominique Anglade said the company
should "clearly be listening to its shareholders."
While the Quebec government, a major investor in
Bombardier's CSeries narrowbody jet program, would not take a
position on Beaudoin's future as executive chairman, Anglade
said she understood shareholders' concerns.
"I'm not entirely surprised because there was a decision
that was made that led to an unacceptable pay increase," she
said in a telephone interview.
A Bombardier spokesman reiterated a Monday statement that
shareholders would "have an opportunity to discuss these
important questions" at the May 11 meeting.
On Monday, Quebec's largest pension fund Caisse de depot et
placement, one of Bombardier's biggest shareholders, said that
it had withheld its vote for Beaudoin and called for a fully
independent director to head the board.
"The fact that they publicized this is to rally shareholders
to voice their opposition," an analyst who covers Bombardier
said of the Caisse.
British Columbia's main public sector pension fund has gone
further, saying it planned to withhold support from all five of
the Bombardier-Beaudoin family members on the company's board,
along with compensation committee members seeking re-election.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham and Allison Lampert; Additional
reporting by Shalini Nagarajan; Editing by James Dalgleish and