Ontario Teachers' join investors voting against Bombardier chairman

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has joined several large institutional investors in voting against the re-election of Bombardier's executive chairman and the company's executive compensation plan.

"Our assessment of recent events confirms the need for independent board leadership," the Toronto-based pension plan said in a report on its website.

Teachers' added it doesn't typically support the role of executive chairman, but did back the election last year of Pierre Beaudoin, whose family controls the company through multiple-voting shares.

The pension plan also said it has concerns about the board's approach to executive compensation despite Bombardier's (TSX:BBD.B) improving performance.

"We found important information missing 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," it stated.

Teachers' also voted against the executive compensation plan in last year's non-binding vote.

The pension plan does not disclose its holdings in Bombardier since it is below its $150-million threshold.

The Caisse de depot pension fund manager and Quebec Federation of Labour's Solidarity Fund said they have cast similar votes ahead of its annual meeting Thursday.

The Caisse owns more than 53 million class A and B shares in Bombardier. It also has a 30 per cent stake in Bombardier's railway division.

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

Bombardier said Beaudoin will continue to stand for re-election, but would not comment until the matter is discussed at the annual meeting.

Ottawa gave the company a $372.5-million loan in February for research and development with the goal of preserving jobs. The announcement came nearly two months before Bombardier disclosed its increased compensation.

Federal Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said Tuesday that the government won't get involved in the debate between Bombardier and its shareholders because, unlike the Caisse, it doesn't own shares in the company.