Lowys to face grilling at Westfield AGM

Westfield Group's directors and non-executive chairman Frank Lowy will face shareholders on Wednesday asking questions on weaker retail leases, board changes and proxy holder concerns about high wages for directors.

Westfield Group's directors and non-executive chairman Frank Lowy will face shareholders on Wednesday asking questions on weaker retail leases, board changes and proxy holder concerns about high wages for directors.

Although the retail landlord said it was confident it had the numbers to pass its remuneration report at the annual meeting, there are still expected to be tough questions from the floor. The meeting will be held at Sydney's InterContinental Hotel.

The Australian Shareholders Association led a push for lower payments to Mr Lowy and his sons - co-chief executives Peter and Steven Lowy, and director David Lowy.

Last year, Steven Lowy received a total remuneration package of $9.4 million, while Peter Lowy, who is based in the US, made $US8.9 million ($9.2 million). Frank Lowy, as non-executive chairman, received a base salary of $750,000.

In a recent letter to the company, ASA said the projected dividends from the Lowy family shares for this year would be $91.6 million.

"The family does not need to continue drawing excessive remuneration, whether as executive directors or as the non-executive chairman," the ASA said. "ASA notes that both James and Kerry Packer had never drawn salaries or director fees from Crown Limited or its predecessor bodies. The dividends are enough and we encourage the Lowy family to take note of this precedent."

Other proxy houses CGI and Institutional Shareholder Services have urged investors to vote in favour of Westfield's remuneration report.

Long-serving Westfield director Stephen Johns and deputy chairman Fred Hilmer will retire at the meeting.