Leading UK companies cut rewards of chief executives

Lucy Tobin,Russell Lynch
Wednesday 06 March 2013 23:53
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The bosses of three of Britain's biggest companies, BP, GlaxoSmithKline and the owner of British Airways, all saw their pay packages stymied last year as they suffered the impact of corporate headaches.

BP's American chief executive, Bob Dudley, pocketed a salary of $2.67m (£1.8m) last year, up only slightly on the $2.61m he received a year earlier, but was awarded no performance-related shares, compared to the $780,000-worth of shares he received in 2011. The shares are distributed according to a measure that compares BP's performance against that of its rivals over a three-year period, when BP suffered the after-effects of the Macondo explosion in July 2010 that killed 11 men.

"The impact of accident continues to be dominant," a BP spokesman said. However Mr Dudley's pension pot still shot up by $7.3m last year.

At International Airlines Group, the chief executive, Willie Walsh, missed out on receiving his annual bonus due to the dire performance of the group's Spanish airline, Iberia. Mr Walsh picked up a total of £1.08m in salary and benefits last year, down £215,000 on 2011. His basic salary was frozen at £825,000 for the second year in a row.

The company's annual report said the chief executive would have been entitled to a bonus this year, but the board "decided to exercise its discretion to withhold the payment", given the poor financial performance of the group.

Separately, Sir Andrew Witty, the chief executive of Britain's biggest pharmaceuticals company, GlaxoSmithKline, saw his pay package almost halve to £3.9m last year, from £6.8m in 2011.

His annual bonus plunged because Glaxo's profits suffered as austerity-struck governments in Europe demanded drug price cuts, and as best-selling medicines fell out of patent protection.

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