BP'S chief executive, Tony Hayward, was awarded a 41 per cent pay rise in 2009 despite the company's profits coming in more than 50 per cent down on the previous year.
Mr Hayward's total package last year was worth £4.01m, compared with £2.85m in 2008, according to the oil major's annual report, which was published yesterday.
Despite the sharp drop in overall annual profits, Mr Hayward's pay was boosted by performance bonuses linked to improved operations. In response to the global economic slowdown, and sharply lower oil price, Mr Hayward cut $4bn (£2.6bn) from the group's annual costs and by the fourth quarter BP was the only oil company to be showing year-on-year profit growth.
"Nearly all targets were exceeded, some substantially, with particularly strong performances on cost reduction, exploration success, production start-ups and refining," DeAnne Julius, the chairman of BP's remuneration committee, said.
"BP shareholders recorded the highest total shareholder return of all the oil majors for the year," she added.
The annual report also reveals that Carl-Henric Svanberg, the Swedish former chief executive of Ericsson who took over as BP chairman in January, will be paid £750,000 a year, £150,000 more than his predecessor, Sir Peter Sutherland. Mr Svanberg will also receive a £100,000 relocation grant.
Other top BP executives saw less substantial pay rises. Andy Inglis, the head of production and exploration, was paid £2.7m in 2009, compared with £2.3m in 2008. Iain Conn, the head of marketing and refining, saw his pay rise from £1.9m to £2.4m. And finance director Byron Grote saw an increase to £2.9m from £2.45m.