Shareholders voted 11.78% against the remuneration report at oil major BP’s annual general meeting today.
The pay of chief executive Bob Dudley has become a key issue for investors almost two years after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The meeting comes as the shares of rival Royal Dutch Shell fell sharply after it said a 16km oil sheen had been spotted near one of its facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
One institutional investor that has gone public with its opposition to Dudley’s pay is CCLA, which manages assets for charities, faith organisations and local authorities.
Chief Investment Officer James Bevan confirmed in an interview with the BBC this morning that the firm would be voting against the report.
While acknowledging that BP has done some great work since the spill, Bevan said there are key two issues.
“One is that the measures themselves are not quantified. So, while we absolutely welcome news that BP will be focusing on safety and risk management, rebuilding trust and restoring value – we want to see some numbers.
“The second issue is: will the remuneration that comes from the delivery of these objectives be reasonable or excessive?”Bevan added that the “eyewatering” numbers Dudley could command if he delivers against his targets mean “there is clearly an allegation to be leveled that it’s excessive”.
Bevan agreed with the interviewer that a lot of shareholders are “apathetic”, referring to the 10% vote against remuneration in 2011. But he did stress that the company is prepared to engage with investors outside the AGM scenario and that CCLA was looking forward to discussing with BP “how it better positions itself to serve the needs of its shareholders” and other stakeholders.
Among other investors known to have voted against the remuneration report is the $4bn US faith investor the Christian Brothers Investment Services.
But others, such as the giant Florida State Board of Administration, have disclosed that they voted to support the report.
“Institutional investors who supported such excessive potential variable pay need to justify that voting decision,” tweeted campaign group Fair Pensions from the meeting.
Other companies in the remuneration firing line include bank group Barclays Plc, which holds its AGM on April 27.