Pay deal for energy chief “brings British business into disrepute”

BG GROUP, the oil and has exploration firm, is facing growing opposition over plans to pay its new boss up to £14m a year plus a £15m “golden hello” ahead of a shareholder meeting to approve part of the package.

Helge Lund

Helge Lund is to take over next year after 10 years in charge of Norwegian energy giant Statoil, with his appointment following the departure of Chris Finlayson as BG chief executive earlier this year, just 18 months into the job.

BG said Mr Lund was “ideally suited” for the role given his track record, skills and experience and his pay package was competitive within the oil and gas sector.

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But investment advisory bodies have joined a chorus of discontent, with the Institute of Directors (IoD) saying the deal “brings the whole of British business into disrepute”.

Mr Lund is due to receive a share award worth £12m on joining but this is subject to approval by a special meeting of shareholders in Reading on December 15.

BG has warned that Mr Lund “is not obliged to join BG Group if the share award is not approved”.

In addition, Mr Lund is in line for a one-off relocation allowance of £480,000 plus shares worth up to £3 million to compensate for unvested bonuses.

IoD director general Simon Walker said the pay deal is “a red rag to enemies of the free market. We urge shareholders to call BG’s bluff”.