Backlash at BP over share plan

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EXTEL - The board of BP faced a backlash from shareholders at the company's annual meeting yesterday over a new executive share option scheme.

The scheme was approved by a majority of shareholders despite Lord Ashburton, BP's chairman, admitting it had technical shortcomings and faced criticism from the UK Shareholders Association.

A spokesman for the association said shareholders were being asked to sign a blank cheque. The scheme, which replaces an earlier version established in 1984, did not meet guidelines on executive share option schemes published jointly last July by the National Association of Pension Funds and the Association of British Insurers. Nor did it meet the requirements for disclosure of performance targets.

Lord Ashburton said BP would rectify disclosure guidelines next year. But he refused to commit the group to complying unconditionally with all ABI and NAPF guidelines.