- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 3, 2013

Swiss voters have spoken, imposing some of the strictest rules in the world on executive paychecks.

Early returns in a referendum Sunday revealed that 68 percent of voters backed plans for corporate shareholders to veto executive pay and for a ban on big rewards for new and departing managers, The Daily Mail reports.

Anger over the big bonuses blamed for fueling risky investments that nearly flattened Swiss bank UBS, as well as outrage over a proposed $78 million golden parachute to outgoing Novartis Chairman Daniel Vasella, contributed to the referendum, The Mail reports.

“It emotionalized and it mobilized,” Claude Longchamp, of pollsters Gfs.Bern, said of the parachute that Novartis ultimately canceled last month.

Executives have threatened that the rules will make the country seem less palatable to international companies, which previously have been drawn to Switzerland by low taxes, stable politics and business-friendly laws, The Mail reports. But companies likely will seek loopholes around the new rules to reward executives.

The deal must be signed off on by European Union governments before being enforced next year.