Shell boss's £17.2m pay packet shows the madness of incentive plans

The Guardian - Mar 14, 19:56 GMT

Ben van Beurden’s bonanza is a reward for the oil price rise that was outside his controlHere, as sure as spring, comes another row over pay at Shell

Ben van Beurden’s bonanza is a reward for the oil price rise that was outside his control

Here, as sure as spring, comes another row over pay at Shell. Chief executive Ben van Beurden collected €20.1m (£17.2m) last year, a tidy 126% increase on 2017. The only other time he passed €20m was 2014, when he apparently needed an enormous pension top-up and “tax equalisation” handout to ease his arduous journey from London to Shell HQ in The Hague. For practical purposes, he is setting pay records for a Shell boss.

No doubt he’s doing a great job, as shareholders would see things. Just in case, remuneration chair Gerard Kleisterlee littered his report with references to the vast sums the company generates these days – an astonishing £40bn of cash from operations last year. And, yes, we can agree the takeover of gas producer BG Group in late 2015 turned out not to be the overpriced stinker it seemed at the time. Energy prices recovered, easing the strain on Van Beurden’s acquisition arithmetic.

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