By Jonathan Davies
BG Group's shareholders have slammed the board's decision to award a £25 million pay package to its new chief executive Helge Lund.
One shareholder described it as "outrageous".
Nearly a fifth (18%) of shareholders voted against BG Group's remuneration report and 13.5% opposed the re-election of Sir John Hood as chairman of the remuneration committee.
Mr Lund's pay package was announced in October and faced stiff criticism from business leaders. But BG Group chairman Andrew Gould said the shareholders had misjudged public reaction and stressed the the £25m figure was crucial to luring Mr Lung from Statoil.
The package drew further criticism when it was announced that Mr Lund would leave the company when Shell's $47bn takeover of BG Group was completed.
Helge Lund was hired to turnaround the company's fortunes after a spell of weak performance. But news that he would leave prompted speculation that he was instead hired to keep things going until a deal with Shell was agreed.
Sir John Hood said it was not clear how much Mr Lund would be paid before he leaves. But at the shareholder's annual meeting Mark Bentley, from shareholder group ShareSoc, said it was likely to be around £11.7m.
He said: “This really represents an outrageous sum in the current climate. It’s a contribution to the ratcheting up of executive pay across FTSE 100 companies … I really think the remuneration committee has let shareholders and UK plc down in agreeing this massive package for the CEO and may I request an apology from the remuneration committee?”
But chairman Andrew Gould insisted that the decision was taken by the board as a whole and that no individual apologies would be made.