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More than 30 percent of Veeco shareholders oppose executive pay plan

Veeco mechanical engineer Mathew Levy holds a data

Veeco mechanical engineer Mathew Levy holds a data wafer at a plant in Plainview in 2012. Credit: Chris Ware

More than 30 percent of shareholders voted "no" in an advisory vote on the executive compensation package Veeco Instruments Inc. put forward in its proxy, the Plainview company said in a filing.

Though the majority of participating shareholders -- 21,979,585, or 68.5 percent -- voted in favor of the "say-on-pay" measure, a proxy advisory firm said that dissent by more than 30 percent of voters is unusual.

"Just 5 percent of companies thus far in 2014 show less than 70 percent support," according to John Roe, executive director with ISS Corporate Services, a unit of Institutional Shareholder Services. The figure is based on a sample of 520 companies in the Russell 3000 index reporting say-on-pay votes for 2014 annual meetings through May 1.

"By comparison, 8 percent of companies showed less than 70 percent support for their advisory pay vote in calendar 2013," he said.

ISS is one of two major proxy advisory services that called on shareholders to reject Veeco's compensation plan. Results of the vote were released after Veeco's annual meeting near its headquarters Tuesday.

ISS had challenged Veeco on several issues, including the value calculated for 2013 stock options granted to Veeco CEO John Peeler, and which companies should be viewed as its peers in evaluating executive pay.

A Veeco spokesman said the company does not comment on executive compensation issues.

Separately, shareholders re-elected two independent directors to Veeco's board: Gordon Hunter and Peter Simone. Both were supported by ISS.

Shares of Veeco fell 4.87 percent to close at $32.44 Wednesday.

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