Oil giant executive pay criticised

BP logoOil giant BP has fought off criticism over its pay deals for top bosses despite being slammed for offering hefty rewards for "unchallenging" targets.

Nearly 6% of investor votes were made against its pay plans at the firm's annual general meeting in London's ExCeL centre.

But the group secured shareholder backing, with 94% of votes made in favour of its pay report in what marked the strongest show of support for at least seven years.

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg also came under fire amid reports that major investors were concerned over his time commitments following his decision to chair Swedish motor group Volvo, as well as his stewardship of the group since the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Around 9% of investors declined to support his reappointment at the AGM, with 6% voting against and 395 million votes withheld.

A BP spokesman said: "Mr Svanberg has just been re-elected chairman with 94% of the vote. He devotes a great deal of his time to BP and fully meets the demands of his role."

Long-term institutional BP shareholder Standard Life Investments made calls for BP to "raise its game" and overhaul its executive pay policies.

Guy Jubb, global head of governance and stewardship at Standard Life Investments, said: "Executives have the potential to receive significant rewards for achieving unchallenging performance targets, which, as a matter of principle we oppose."

Standard Life Investments, which has failed to back BP pay policies for seven out of the last eight AGMs, said the group needed to simplify its bonus performance targets and better align them with BP's strategy.

Ahead of Thursday's meeting, shareholder body Pirc had encouraged investors to vote against pay plans, which saw chief executive Bob Dudley receive a cash bonus of 837,000 US dollars (£543,000) for 2012, although his overall pay fell by 21% after he did not receive any performance shares.
Read Full Story