Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Donald MacLeod: BP pay rise u-turn is a small victory, but obscene pay will still flow like an oil well

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley (Andrew Milligan / PA Archive)
BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley (Andrew Milligan / PA Archive)

We were assured the overdue clean-up of our PLCs and financial intuitions had started.

Well, for most of this week it seemed someone forgot to send BP the memo.

I almost slipped on a slick when I heard that its boss, Chief Executive Bob Dudley, was in the pipeline to receive a 20% pay increase. A rise that would have seen him take home a staggering £14 million a year.

But lo and behold, the anger of BP’s shareholders welled up at Thursday’s AGM and they told the company to sling its hook and rejected the increase.

No wonder! BP recently shed 7000 jobs and reported an annual loss in 2015 of nearly $6 billion, the worst loss in the company’s history.

And if that weren’t bad enough,  the proposed pay rise came at a time when the price of a barrel of the black stuff has slumped to a record low.

Is it an insult to our sense of justice and common decency? Without a doubt.

Thankfully it wasn’t to be and we can only hope that BP’s mealy-mouthed chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and his shocked board do indeed now listen and learn from this embarrassing escapade.

Perhaps, unlike their woeful response to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, they will act quick and decisively, to cap any damage done and back the wishes of their shareholders.

And they should start that process now and ask Bob to return the extra wages and bonuses that he has already been paid – a truly shocking decision taken before the shareholders even met.

Still, overall, this surprising turn of events should be a cause of some celebration.

I can’t remember the last time something like this happened. Maybe that’s because it never has.

It was a landmark decision made only because many of those institutional block shareholders who would previously go with the flow no matter what, turned their taps off and voted no.

Surprising, really, given that it was those very same shareholders who in 2014 voted through the formulae on which these increases are based.

Something is obviously very wrong with the maths here. A major glitch in the computer, methinks.

Does this decision by BP’s shareholders herald a new dawn in the boardroom? Is this the start of things to come? A watershed moment?

No chance! One swallow does not a summer make, as they say.

This historic rejection was but a drop of oil in an uncapped well full of greed and excess.

We can hope it provides the spark for change but I doubt very much that it will, not when most company  boards can ignore anything their shareholders wish or vote for.

It has, though – for this week at least – made fools of the other worldly few who live lavishly off the supplying of fuel.


READ MORE

Donald MacLeod: How can the greedy elite lecture us on tax dodging now?

Donald MacLeod: Steelworkers prepare to say TATA to their jobs