BP chief paid £15,000 a day

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of BP was rewarded for a year of bumper profits with a £5.65 million pay package - equivalent to more than £15,000 a day.

Lord Browne of Madingley, 56, picked up £3.7 million in pay and bonuses for 2004 when the record cost of crude sent profits rocketing to 16.2 billion US dollars (£8.7 billion).

He also benefited from share options worth £1.9 million after BP performed well against four of its biggest rivals, including Shell, which saw its share price plunge in the wake of the reserves fiasco last year.

Lord Browne, who joined BP in 1966, was awarded a 5 per cent rise in his basic salary to £1.4 million last year and picked up an annual bonus of £2.3 million for meeting financial and leadership targets.

His total pay package is higher than the £4.8 million earned in 2003 and just short of the £5.7 million banked in 2001.

Sir Robin Nicholson, chairman of the remuneration committee, said: "We have an excellent team of world-class directors leading the company.

"The remuneration decisions we have taken for 2004 appropriately reflect the high level of performance achieved during the year."

BP - the UK's biggest quoted company - was accused of excessive profiteering by unions last month after annual profits hit an all-time high.

The company said its performance was achieved after the average price of Brent crude rose by a third and refining margins were boosted by the continued surge in demand from emerging economies such as China.

It also replaced more oil and gas than it used in 2004 - in contrast to the estimate by rival Shell of between 15 per cent and 25 per cent.

Investors have shared in the strong performance, with BP planning to lift its dividend in dollar terms by 26 per cent and shares in the company rising by 12 per cent during 2004.

The remuneration committee of BP today added that three-quarters of the pay package for executive directors in 2005 would continue to be performance-related.