Church of England challenges BP chief’s £14 million pay deal

By Gavin Drake
Posted Apr 15, 2016

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England’s investment bodies joined a mass revolt against a proposed pay deal of some £14 million GBP ($19.8 million) for BP chief executive Bob Dudley April 15. The rebellion against the company’s remunerations’ committee report saw the pay deal rejected in a non-binding vote of some 60 per cent of shareholders.

The vote against the Remunerations Committee’s report is non-binding because the company sets its pay policy for a period of three years; but the company’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, told shareholders: “We hear you!”

“Let me be clear: We hear you,” he said. “We will sit down with our largest shareholders to make sure we understand their concerns and return to seek your support for a renewed policy.

A spokesman for the C of E confirmed to ACNS that the church’s national investing bodies “did vote against the package in line with our ethical policies.”

The Guardian newspaper reports that the C of E Pensions Board asked the meeting whether the proposed £14 million pay deal was “morally right” asking how much an individual executive needed to be incentivize to make him work. This year the company reported record losses, cut thousands of jobs and froze the pay of most employees.

In a separate move, the C of E has announced that it now has the support of 30 institutional investors for its shareholder proposal urging ExxonMobil to disclose the impact of climate change policy on its business. The motion will be put to the company’s AGM on May 25 after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission overruled an attempt by the company to reject it.

The resolution, co-filed by the Church Commissioners for England and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, asks Exxon to disclose how resilient its portfolio and strategy is in light of the agreement at the COP21 talks in Paris last December to restrict global warming to two degrees.

The institutional investors backing the motion include AXA Investment Management, BNP Paribas, Legal & General Investment Management and Schroder’s. Together, the 30 investors have more than $6 trillion of assets under management.