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Shell boss Ben Van Beurden spared shareholder pay revolt

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Jillian Ambrose24 MAY 2016 • 3:17PM

Shell shareholders have approved plans to pay boss Ben Van Beurden £4.3m despite calls from top proxy advisors to vote against his bonus ahead of the oil major’s AGM.

Investors voted 85.83pc in favour of the payout at the meeting in The Hague today.

Mr Van Beurden’s pay packet includes a salary of £1.4m, a bonus of £3.5m, and a pension of £441,000 for 2015, despite Shell reporting its steepest losses in 13 years and a planned job cull of 10,000. He has also received shares worth £9.7m, which vest in three years if he meets key performance targets.

The bonus is near the maximum allowed by the company, and sparked outrage among institutional proxy advisor groups Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) and Glass Lewis, as well as ShareSoc, the UK’s largest individual investor group.

The attacks followed a shareholder rebellion against rival BP earlier this year over plans to give boss Bob Dudley a 20pc pay hike to £14m for the year. The plans were rejected by almost 60pc in an embarrassing shareholder rebellion.

Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), which holds shares worth £936m in Shell, spoke out against pay at both Shell and BP.

“We remain disappointed that the chief executive received very close to the maximum possible bonus in a year when overall financial performance was weak. Whilst the board did exercise some discretion in reducing the awards, we believe they could have done more,” said Ashley Hamilton Claxton, RLAM’s corporate governance manager.

“However, we do acknowledge that despite a tough operating year, the company has had several successes in 2015, including the completion of the BG Group deal. We also appreciate that Shell has made very positive steps in responding to the concerns raised by its investors and we will be engaging with the company going forward.”

Shell completed the £40bn mega takeover of gas giant BG Group earlier this year amid concern that the company might be paying over the odds after the price of oil collapsed during the course of the deal negotiations.

Mr Van Beurden has consistently argued that the BG deal takes a long-term view of the sector and will provide a “springboard” back to profitability after consecutive quarters of heavy losses.

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