A quarter of voting shareholders have rebelled against Shell's pay report after CEO grabbed a €9m pay packet

 
Lucy White
NETHERLANDS-ECONOMY-LABOUR-SHELL
Ben Van Beurden received almost €9m in total pay last year (Source: Getty)

More than 25 per cent of shareholders who voted in Royal Dutch Shell's AGM today expressed their discontent with the management's pay, after the chief executive received a pay packet of almost €9m (£8m).

The oil giant's boss Ben Van Beurden received a salary of €1.49m, bonus awards of €3m, and incentives vesting over the year of €4.02m, on top of his pension contributions and other benefits.

Shareholder advisory firm Pirc had advised investors to vote down the report, saying Van Beurden's total pay was "excessive" at 471 per cent of his salary. Pirc was also concerned that the maximum vesting opportunity for the long-term incentive plan was 680 per cent of salary.

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Shell said that it noted "a number" of shareholders voted against the pay report, and said it would "continue to engage constructively".

However, the 25 per cent vote seemed too small to make Shell consider any further action, as it said it had received a "positive response to our decisions in respect of the execution of our [pay] policy for 2017 and its alignment with company performance" in meetings between shareholders and senior management.

However Nest, the workplace pensions scheme set up by the government which has almost £7m invested in the billion-pound company, was one shareholder which voted against the pay report.

It cited concerns over "safety issues" in Shell's supply chain, and the fact that Shell had not made firm commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which were directly linked to executives' incentives.

Meanwhile Epworth Investment Management, which manages money on behalf of the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church and other Christian faith groups, also voted against the chair of the remuneration committee Gerard Kleisterlee.

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"We regarded the remuneration outcome as excessive, even when compared to the targets," said Epworth's chief investment officer Stephen Beer.

Meanwhile, a resolution put forward by shareholders to push Shell to publish targets aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement – on how it would push global warming to "well below two degrees centigrade" – was supported by just 5.54 per cent of voting shareholders, though only 56 per cent actually voted.

Shell said it "welcomes and strongly supports the Paris Agreement", but added its "net carbon footprint ambition goes well beyond" what the resolution was proposing.

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