BP fends off criticism of boss pay deal

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Oil giant BP fought off criticism over its pay deals for top bosses yesterday despite being slammed for offering hefty rewards for “unchallenging” targets.

Nearly six per cent 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 per cent of votes made in favour of its pay report in what marked the strongest show of support for 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 nine per cent of investors declined to support his reappointment at the AGM, with six per cent voting against and 395m votes withheld.

A BP spokesman said: “Mr Svanberg has just been re-elected chairman with 94 per cent 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, its global head of governance and stewardship, said: “Executives have the potential to receive significant rewards for achieving unchallenging performance targets, which, as a matter of principle we oppose.”