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Sep 11
2009

Shell’s pay chief steps down amid criticism

Posted by MQuinn in compensationbonuses

MQuinn

Think the U.S. is cracking down on executive bonuses? Take a look across the pond.

Royal Dutch Shell announced that Peter Job, the chairman of its remuneration committee, will step down from that role on October 1 after shareholders blasted him over bonuses paid to executives this year.

Job will remain a member of the committee until he retires in May 2010, the company said.

Angry shareholders began demanding Job's resignation in May when more than 59 percent of them voted against Shell's remuneration report.

Investors, infuriated that executives were granted bonus payments even when performance goals were missed, called for Job to step down and for the bonuses to be clawed back.

The remuneration committee awarded board members half the shares they would have received if the company had placed third in a peer group based on total shareholder return, even though they finished fourth in the group.

Prior to the annual shareholder meeting, Job attempted to explain the bonus awards in a letter to investors.

He wrote that the committee "reserved the right to exercise discretion where the result is close, as was the case in this instance since Shell came fourth by a narrow margin."

Following the shareholder vote, Shell said it would take the results into consideration, but it seemed unlikely that the payments would be returned.

"We are taking this very seriously and we will be meeting with shareholders to take the right decisions," Shell chairman Jorma Ollila said after the vote. "We have already introduced additional performance measures for future awards reflecting on comments from shareholders."

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