Shell bosses pay plan rejected

THE HAGUE: British-Dutch energy major Shell's shareholders on Tuesday rejected a pay plan for the company's management that was seen as too generous, a spokesman told AFP.

At meetings in The Hague and London, "59.42 percent of the shareholders voted against and 40.58 percent voted for" a resolution on the pay plans, said Rainer Winzenried, a spokesman for Shell.

The chairman of Shell's remuneration committee Peter Job said in a statement: "Shell takes the outcome very seriously and we will reflect carefully on it." He said the vote reflected "discontent" among shareholders at arrangements that give the committee discretion in awarding shares to executives for their performance and said it had substantially curbed bosses' pay in recent years.

"In 2008 the committee decided to release one quarter of the potential award to executive directors," he said. "In all, 14 percent of the potential award has been released to them over the last four years." The company said in its yearly report: "The annual bonus is designed to reward executive directors for achieving results that further Shell's objectives." Shell announced last month that its first-quarter net profit plunged 62 percent as oil prices slumped in the economic downturn.

Net earnings were down 16 percent in 2008, but rose 14 percent when calculated on a current cost basis which adjusts for fluctuating oil prices.

The report said that the group's director general Jeroen van der Veer in 2008 was paid 10.32 million euros (14 million dollars), including bonuses and pension payments. His base salary rose eight percent compared to 2007.