Alex Lawson Energy correspondent
Thu, 9 March 2023 at 8:26 am GMT
The recently departed chief executive of Shell’s pay jumped more than 50% to nearly £10m in 2022 including a bonus labelled “jaw-dropping” by campaigners.
The total pay package of Ben van Beurden, who stood down at the end of last year, rose from £6.3m in 2021 to £9.7m in 2022. His bonus rose from £2.2m in 2021 to £2.6m in 2022.
Last month Shell posted record profits of $40bn for 2022, fuelled by a surge in wholesale gas prices linked to the war in Ukraine. The profits led to calls for a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas companies to be toughened.
Van Beurden’s payout is likely to cause anger among campaigners calling for executive pay to be curbed against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis.
Alice Harrison, the fossil fuels campaign leader at Global Witness, said: “It’s shocking but not surprising that one of the world’s richest oil and gas giants can hand its CEO a jaw-dropping bonus while hardworking people – nurses, paramedics, teachers – must strike to get fair pay.
“It’s a sign of just how broken our energy system is that Shell and other fossil fuel companies have made record-breaking profits from an energy crisis that’s forcing families to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table.”
Harrison called for a “people-first windfall tax” that includes executive bonuses in Jeremy Hunt’s UK budget next week.
Van Beurden’s pay was not cut despite the deaths of two Shell contractors, with the company citing its overall safety record in 2022 as the reason. The previous year he was docked £132,283, which was 10% of his base salary, after the company recorded eight deaths.
The Dutch national was replaced at the start of the year by the new chief executive, Wael Sawan, who has the same base salary of £1.4m.