Sutherland's pay gushes to £500,000 at BP

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The Independent Online

The oil giant's annual report and accounts, due to be published next Tuesday, will show that Mr Sutherland's pay rose more than a quarter last year after having been frozen in 2004 at £390,000.

Mr Sutherland, who is a former European competition commissioner and director-general of the World Trade Organisation, works two to three days a week for BP. He is also the chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a non-executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland.

A board member of BP for 11 years, Mr Sutherland has been the company's chairman since 1997. The Combined Code on Corporate Governance says it is best practice for a non-executive director to serve no more than nine years, although a chairman is exempted from this rule.

Mr Sutherland's pay increase elevates him into a small circle of FTSE 100 chairmen who earn half a million pounds or more.

The chairman of BAE Systems, Dick Olver, himself a former member of BP's board, is paid £500,000 a year, as is Niall FitzGerald, the chairman of Reuters.

The BP chairman has agreed to stay on to oversee the succession to the chief executive Lord Browne of Madingley, who retires in 2008 when he reaches 60. Among the internal candidates are BP's head of exploration and production, Tony Hayward, and its chief executive of refining and marketing, John Manzoni.

The report and accounts are likely to confirm Lord Browne as one of the best-paid businessmen in the country. In 2004 he was paid £5.2m, including an award of bonus shares worth £1.46m. He received a further bonus award worth £1.9m in 2005 in addition to his salary for the year.