BP gets bloody nose overs its directors’ pay

Marion Dakers
BP suffered a bloody nose over its directors’ pay packets yesterday, as shareholders at its annual meeting voiced continued concerns about the firm’s strategy two years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Around 11.8 per cent of shareholders voted against the firm’s remuneration plans, with a further 1.7 per cent withholding their votes.

The number of opposing votes was almost the same as during 2011’s meeting, when investors had their first opportunity to display anger over the Gulf spill on 20 April 2010.

Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said the firm has taken a “hard look” at its assets this year and slimmed down its operations to fund the Gulf clean-up. BP has now made $23bn worth of its planned $38bn asset sales.

Just over seven per cent voted against Svanberg’s re-election to the board, leaving his approval rating broadly unchanged from a year ago.

But chief executive Bob Dudley, whose pay packet of more than £4m prompted the rebellion against remuneration, was backed for re-election by 99.75 per cent of shareholders.

The firm returned to profit and dividend payments in 2011, having endured what Dudley said was a “major crisis” in the wake of the spill.

Dudley said BP plans to generate 50 per cent more operating cash flow by 2014 through new upstream projects. The firm’s share price, however, is still 30 per cent below pre-spill levels.

A handful of protesters were dragged out of the meeting at London’s ExCel centre after staging a “die-in” to highlight BP’s tar sands operations.