BP shareholders reject CEO's pay

  • 15/04/2016
Bob Dudley (Getty)
Bob Dudley (Getty)

BP's shareholders have voted against chief executive Bob Dudley's US$20 million (NZ$29 million) pay deal for 2015, a rare investor revolt for such a major company, after it recorded a record annual loss.

Some 59 percent of shareholders on Thursday opposed the pay and benefits package, according to preliminary figures, in stark contrast with previous years when more than 80 percent and sometimes as many as 90 percent voted in favour of the pay packages for senior executives.

Investors gathered at the ExCel exhibition centre in east London gasped when the initial voting figures were displayed on screen in the hall during the company's annual meeting.

BP's stock was down 1.3 percent at 1450GMT, underperforming most rivals, and the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares.

Dudley's 2015 pay and benefits rose 20 percent even though the company cut 5000 jobs last year and reported steep losses after oil prices plunged.

While rival Royal Dutch Shell stayed in the black last year, its chief executive, Ben van Beurden, saw his pay fall to €5.6 million (NZ$9.2 million) from €24.2 million.

Even though the vote was non-binding, BP executives said they would consider making changes to the way remuneration is calculated in future.

"We will... review the overall remuneration package," Ann Dowling, head of BP's remuneration committee, told shareholders at the meeting.

"I will report on this next year with our conclusions and with a new proposed policy based on the outcome of this review."

The review will include assessing how the remuneration committee deals with oil price fluctuations and will engage directly with major shareholders.

BP had long argued that management rewards should be based on a combination of factors including cash generation and operational performance.

Last year Dudley clinched a final settlement with US authorities over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, which many investors said removed uncertainty around the firm's future but also led to a big provision, pushing the company into the red.

AAP