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Shell faces rising investor discontent over executive pay

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Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.17.55By REUTERSPUBLISHED: 16:01, 24 May 2016

By Ron Bousso

THE HAGUE, May 24 (Reuters) – Investor discontent with Royal Dutch Shell over multi-million euro pay packages for its top executives rose sharply at this year’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday.

Although Shell’s shareholders approved the oil and gas group’s remuneration report, including chief executive Ben van Beurden’s 5.14 million euros ($5.74 million) package, 14.17 percent of investors opposed it, up from 3.84 percent last year.

Royal London Asset Management, which holds Shell shares worth nearly 1 billion pounds, said it was “disappointed” that van Beurden received very close to the maximum possible bonus in a year when the firm’s overall financial performance was weak.

A slump in oil prices meant Shell reported its lowest annual income in more than a decade in 2015.

Yet van Beurden’s total package, including pension and tax equalisation, was 5.58 million euros, down from 24.2 million the previous year. This was mainly due to a significant fall in pension, which was boosted in 2014 by his promotion to CEO.

Two investor advisory firms recommended opposing Shell’s remuneration report, saying there was a disconnect between its executive pay and that of other employees and its financial performance.

However, Van Beurden was spared the embarrassment faced by BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley last month when shareholders rejected his $20 million pay deal.

More top British corporations are facing shareholder revolts over the way executives are paid, including medical equipment firm Smith & Nephew and miner Anglo American. ($1 = 0.8945 euros)

(Writing by Karolin Schaps in London; Editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith)

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