US pension giant CalSTRS votes against BP chairman at today’s annual meeting

Svanberg not supported by influential US institution

The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), the $161.5bn (€123.1bn) US pension fund, has voted against BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg at the oil company’s annual general meeting in London today.

The US giant, the nation’s second largest public pension fund and one of the world’s leading responsible investors, voted against re-electing Svanberg as a director, as did fellow investor Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS).

CBIS, prominent in investor engagement with BP in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, also voted against the reappointment and remuneration of auditors Ernst & Young. But CBIS voted to approve the company’s remuneration report.Information on how CalSTRS voted on the oil major’s pay was not available (Link). The re-election of BP’s Chief Executive Bob Dudley was backed by both CalSTRS and CBIS.

The Florida State Board of Administration, another major US institutional investor, voted against the re-election of former MTG Group CEO Phuthuma Nhleko as a BP director, although it backed all the other proposals on the slate.

The Financial Times has reported that three of the company’s largest investors would abstain from votes on BP’s remuneration report and the re-election of Svanberg and remuneration committee chair Antony Burgmans. In a soccer analogy, the FT said the votes were more of a “yellow” rather than “red” card for BP.