NYSE Euronext director Ricardo Salgado resigned from the exchange operator's board on Thursday after failing to win enough shareholder votes for reelection due to his absenteeism in the previous year.
Salgado, vice-chairman and president of the executive committee of Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal's largest bank, missed more than three-quarters of NYSE's board meetings in 2011, which revolved around the company's attempted $7.4 billion (Dh27.2 billion) merger with Deutsche Boerse.
NYSE Chairman Jan-Michiel Hessels said that Salgado was always involved in the decisions around the merger, but was unable to attend meetings as he was responsible for navigating Banco Espirito Santo through the European debt crisis, and was engaged in high-level political discussions related to the crisis.
"On behalf of our Board of Directors and the management team, it is with sincere regret that we accept Ricardo Salgado's resignation," Hessels said in a statement.
He added that Salgado would assist NYSE Euronext in a search for his replacement, and that the replacement would be from the Portuguese market.
"I would like to personally thank the members of the board, the management team and our shareholders for their support," Salgado said.
Shareholders voted in favour of reelecting the other 15 directors on the NYSE board, which includes NYSE chief executive, Duncan Niederauer.
Niederauer's new compensation plan, which now includes a performance-based incentive worth up to $6 million a year, was also supported by a majority of shareholders, as part of the Big Board parent's overall executive compensation plan.
Niederauer, who has repeatedly called the stock undervalued and recently oversaw the resumption of a $550 million stock buyback, received $9.09 million in total compensation last year, up from $7.06 million in 2010.
NYSE Chairman Hessels said the company would work to address shareholder concerns, but he also pointed to strong top-line growth at NYSE over the years.
Exact number of votes unclear
NYSE said the exact number of votes cast for the pay package would not be known, but it acknowledged that certain proxy firms had recommended voting against the proposal.
One shareholder at the meeting blasted what he called generous bonuses and salaries awarded to NYSE executives while the company's shares languished over several years.
"To me, this is like giving the captain of the Titanic a bonus after he hits the iceberg," Kenneth Steiner, who owns 1,000 NYSE shares, said at the meeting in New York.