Prior to the company’s annual meeting, shareholder advisory firm Pirc had recommended opposing Martin’s re-election, arguing the board should act with a proper degree of independence from the company’s management team.
Following his re-election, Martin told shareholders he would mark 40 years in the role next month and was “hoping to do another 40”.
John Hutson, Wetherspoon’s CEO, said he and the board backed Martin.
Non-executive directors Debra van Gene and Sir Richard Beckett, who have served on the board for 13 and 10 years respectively, tendered their resignation after Columbia Threadneedle, Wetherspoon’s largest institutional shareholder, voted against them continuing.
Meanwhile, Martin faced a backlash from shareholders over a bid to waive the conditions of the UK takeover code in his favour, with 27% of independent investors voting against waiving a rule that would force a shareholder to make a cash offer for the business once their holding exceeds 30%.
The executive chairman owns 32% of Wetherspoon and risks coming into further contravention of the code should the company undertake further share buybacks as it has done in recent years.
Glass Lewis, Pirc and ISS had recommended shareholders vote against this condition this year given the risk of “creeping control”.