Buffett disapproves of Coca-Cola’s pay plan

NEW YORK – Warren Buffett says he disapproves of Coca-Cola’s highly contested pay plan for its executives.

Buffett, whose company is the beverage maker’s largest shareholder, called the plan “excessive” in an interview on CNBC after it was approved at the company’s annual meeting. But he said Berkshire Hathaway abstained from voting against the pay plan because he didn’t want to express disapproval of the company’s management.

Buffett also noted during the interview how difficult it can be to sit on company boards and oppose a pay plan. His son, Howard Buffett, serves on Coke’s board and supported the pay plan. Buffett said that he has never heard anyone speak out against a compensation committee’s plan in 55 years of serving on company boards.

“Taking them on is a little bit like belching at the dinner table. You can’t do it too often,” Buffett said. He added that he’s voted in favor of compensation plans he hasn’t agreed with in the past.

Coca-Cola Co.’s pay plan came under scrutiny after Wintergreen Advisers took public issue with it last month.