BHP Billiton boss in shares bonanza as profits dive

  • @MLeftly

BHP Billiton’s chief executive Andrew Mackenzie picked up £4.6m in shares yesterday days after its profits slumped by nearly a third.

The world’s biggest miner has cut the long-term bonuses of 12 senior managers by 35 per cent although Mr Mackenzie still landed the bumper payout. 

Earlier this week, BHP announced a 31 per cent slump in profits, while the return to shareholders has fallen over the five-year period covered by the bonus scheme.

 On top of the 35 per cent reduction of his bonus, Mr Mackenzie has given up 50,000 shares as part of the package he was awarded for joining BHP from fierce rival Rio Tinto.

BHP said that cutting back on pay was “consistent with the downwards re-basing of executive remuneration” that Mr Mackenzie introduced when he first took the top job. BHP added that the decision also reflects “a more modest approach to remuneration befitting the times”.

Under the terms of the bonus scheme, BHP executives were entitled to the full amount if the company outperformed a group of peer companies by 30.7 per cent in shareholder return over five years. BHP did so by 34.6 per cent, but still registered a negative shareholder return.

This meant the executives  only hit their target because rivals fared even worse than BHP at a time when commodity prices have been hit hard by the financial crisis.

Shares in the company ended up 1p at 1,909.5p.