NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A Wal-Mart (WMT) investor is lobbying fellow shareholders to take a stand against an "unbalanced" pay program that sees CEO Doug McMillon make over 1,100 times the salary of an average store worker on an hourly wage.
CtW Investment Group, an arm of the Change to Win Federation labor coalition, sent a letter to Walmart shareholders urging them to vote against the retail giant's executive compensation proposal at its annual meeting Friday.
McMillon's payout amounted to 240% of his $1.2 million base pay, for instance, despite the company falling short of performance targets for eight of the 10 measures used to determine annual cash incentive payments, said the group. Wal-Mart defended its executive salaries and its payouts, both of which are approved by independent directors on its board's nominating and governance committee.
Other issues on tap for today's meeting include telling investors how Wal-Mart plans to address consumers' rising interest in affordable organic foods at a time when competitors like Target (TGT) and traditional supermarkets are starting to capitalize on organics. Wal-Mart has been relatively quiet about its efforts to expand further into health and wellness products. It also hasn't talked much about whether it will reduce its emphasis on packaged foods such as Kraft (KRFT) macaroni and cheese.
The company has also failed to update shareholders about its sales trends in organics and the number of products it now has available. Wal-Mart's venture into organics seems to be moving forward, albeit slowly. To rejuvenate sales, Sam's Club execs will likely have to lower product prices on bulk goods or memberships. If not, the low sales in the first quarter may persist this year, much to the dismay of Wal-Mart investors. The notoriously competitive Costco (COST) is likely pressuring Sam's Club on price.