William Hill's shareholders scraped through a vote in favour of the hefty 1.2m pounds bonus retained by Chief Executive Ralph Topping, while 49.9 per cent expressed their anger towards the sizeable remuneration packet.
At Tuesday's annual general meeting, the payout was passed by 261.1m votes, with 260m voting against it and 17.6m choosing to withhold.
The bonus is equivalent to two times Topping's salary and prompted the Association of British Insurers to issue an amber top alert on the company.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Chairman of the FTSE 250 bookmaker, Gareth Davis, said: "Whilst we recognise that some shareholders are not supportive of this one-off agreement, we believe that there is widespread appreciation of the very significant contribution of Ralph Topping to the success of William Hill. This is evident from the high level of votes in favour of re-electing all the directors, including Ralph who received 99.8% support.
"We consulted with the majority of our major shareholders and most recognised the importance of what was being put in place for William Hill's future. Whilst many of our largest shareholders supported the Remuneration Report resolution, one of the most influential vote advisory bodies recommended a vote against. It appears that a large number of shareholders across our share register voted in line with this recommendation.
"The board believes this exceptional delivery should be reflected in Ralph Topping's remuneration and has effected the catch-up in his salary over the last couple of years."
In a vote on whether to re-appoint Topping, 99.76% voted in favour.
By 15:30, the firm's share price was down 1.95% to 266.60p.
Should your business invest in a VoIP phone service?
Here's what you need to know about VOIP (voice over IP) services before landlines go digital in 2025.
By David Prosser Published
M&S is back in fashion: but how long can this success last?
M&S has exceeded expectations in the past few years, but can it keep up the momentum?
By Rupert Hargreaves Published