April 10, 2018 11:30 AM, EDT

FleetCor Boosts CEO Ron Clarke’s 2017 Pay 79% to $52.6 Million

FleetCor Technologies Inc. gave CEO Ron Clarke a 79% raise, lifting his compensation to $52.6 million for 2017, the same year investors upbraided the company for paying him too much.

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Clarke received stock options valued at $35.4 million and grants of restricted shares worth $15.1 million, according to a filing April 9. He also got $1 million in salary and a $1.1 million cash bonus.

FleetCor, which provides fuel payment cards for trucking companies, received a rare rebuke from investors in its say-on-pay vote last year, when more than 60% of shares voted against the compensation program. That followed criticism from short sellers, led by Citron Research’s Andrew Left, who alleged that Norcross, Ga.-based FleetCor charges its customers exorbitant fees. The firm rejected those accusations.

Subsequent discussions with shareholders revealed that some of them were concerned that Clarke’s pay was excessive, according to the filing. In response to the vote, FleetCor said it will hold votes on executive compensation each year instead of every three years and that the CEO won’t receive more than $8 million for his work in 2018.

FleetCor shares climbed 36% in 2017, outpacing the 19% advance for the Russell 1000 Index.