Pay boost for Royal Dutch Shell boss despite fall in profits


The boss of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was handed a 54% hike in his pay package last year to 8.59 million euro (£7.5 million) despite sliding profits.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden's pay deal came as he was awarded a potential 4.4 million euro (£3.8 million) under a long-term shares bonus scheme, according to the group's annual report.

But his annual bonus was cut by nearly a third to 2.4 million euro (£2.1 million) after Shell saw annual profits drop 8% to a worse-than-expected 3.5 billion US dollars (£2.9 billion) in 2016, a year in which it also axed another 2,200 jobs.

It suffered a lacklustre fourth quarter despite a bounce-back in oil prices.

The annual report also confirmed bonuses for top management would be tied to greenhouse gas emission management from this year.

It said 10% of director bonuses would be calculated depending on how well it manages emissions such as methane and carbon dioxide from its refining, chemical plants and upstream businesses.

Shell saw 86% of investors approve its pay policy and 14% vote against it at last year's annual general meeting after investor groups had raised concerns over Mr van Beurden's pay.

Rival BP suffered a shareholder defeat over its pay plans last year, which included a pay deal of 19.6 million dollars (£16.1 million) for chief executive Bob Dudley.

In Shell's latest annual report, Gerard Kleisterlee, chair of Shell's remuneration committee (Remco), told investors: "Some of you have highlighted the ongoing public debate over levels of executive remuneration and I assure you that Remco is sensitive to that discussion."

The report showed Mr van Beurden's salary increased by 2.1% to 1.46 million euro (£1.3 million) last year, while the group's employees saw their pay rise 1.8%.

Shell, which sealed a £35 billion takeover of BG Group in February last year, also announced a deal on Thursday to sell most of its Canadian oil sands assets for 7.3 billion US dollars (£6 billion) to Canadian Natural.

The group is also cutting its stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project from 60% to 10%, but will retain "significant" other resources in Canada, where it has had a presence for over 100 years.