Julie Wainwright, chief executive officer of The RealReal Inc. and secondhand luxury pioneer, saw her compensation rise 5.5 percent to $5.2 million for 2020. 

But most of that payday will depend on how well the company navigates a tough market, still complicated by COVID-19 and, now, a growing list of thrifty competitors, including the now public Poshmark and ThredUp. 

That’s because the lion’s share of Wainwright’s pay — $4.9 million — came in the form of stock awards, the ultimate value of which will depend on the company’s share price and vesting schedules. Beyond that, the CEO received a salary of $365,769. 

Wainwright’s pay was reported late Friday in the company’s proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which gives information to shareholders ahead of the company’s annual meeting June 15.  

The CEO has a big stake in seeing RealReal’s stock rise. She owns 6.2 million shares of the company, or 6.7 percent of those outstanding. At the company’s current market capitalization of $2.2 billion, that stake is worth $150 million, on paper. 

But there are, of course, many other RealReal investors and as least some of them make their voices heard. 

The proxy statement and annual meeting are just two of the most outward signs of a public company’s constant back and forth with the shareholder base — an ever-changing group that could hold the stock for seconds or years and invest passively or repeatedly push management for change. 

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“We value feedback from our stockholders,” the secondhand company said in the proxy. “This past year, we invited 48 stockholders who represent more than 70 percent of our institutional shares outstanding to engage with us. We ultimately held meetings with one quarter of those stockholders, representing roughly 16 percent of institutional shares outstanding. One topic that several stockholders suggested we reconsider is our current plurality voting standard for director elections, which the corporate governance and nominating committee will carefully evaluate over the next year. We look forward to engaging with more stockholders and hearing their perspectives on this and other topics over the coming year.”

Most publicly held fashion companies and retailers release their proxy statements in spring, leading to an annual detailing of executive pay. This year, Walmart Inc. CEO Doug McMillon is leading the pay pack with compensation, including stock, of $22.6 million.

 

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