BP more than tripled the total pay of its chief executive Bob Dudley to $8.7m (£5.2m) last year, despite a 22 per cent dive in profits, as the FTSE 100 oil company rewarded its boss for "building for the future".
Mr Dudley received a cash bonus of $2.3m and shares worth $4.5m, according to BP's annual report, on top of his $1.8m basic salary. He replaced Tony Hayward in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill of about five million barrels of oil, which resulted in 11 deaths and badly damaged BP's reputation and balance sheet.
Mr Dudley has set about restructuring the company, selling peripheral businesses to help finance compensation costs relating to the spill and to slim BP down into a more manageable operation.
Yet while analysts say that Mr Dudley has done much to restore faith in BP, his huge pay rise comes against a backdrop of falling profits. Full-year profits fell by more than a fifth to $13.4bn last year.
A spokesman said: "BP has made strong progress over the past three years under Bob Dudley's leadership... The great majority of his potential pay is directly dependent on BP's performance in areas essential both to the delivery of the company's strategy and to the long-term interests of its shareholders."
Mr Dudley would have been paid far more through the performance-related pay scheme if BP's shareholder returns had been higher.
Separately yesterday, the airline chief executive Willie Walsh was awarded £2.4m worth of shares in British Airways' owner, IAG. He will receive the shares if IAG's carriers meet certain targets. Last year Mr Walsh pocketed £5m, including a £1.3m bonus and vested share awards worth £2.6m.