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Ex-Shell chief Ben van Beurden’s pay jumped to £9.7mn last year

Shell’s former chief executive Ben van Beurden received a total pay package of £9.7mn last year, up 53 per cent from 2021, as the oil group delivered a record $40bn in profits.

The payout follows a tumultuous year in energy markets driven by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine that led to historic earnings for the oil and gas industry as fossil fuel prices soared.

Van Beurden’s pay included a base salary of £1.42mn, an annual bonus of £2.59mn paid half in shares and half in cash, and almost £5mn under Shell’s long-term incentive plan, according to the company’s annual report published on Thursday.

The sum was an increase from the €7.4mn (£6.57mn) Van Beurden received in 2021 when the company was based in the Netherlands, but still less than the €20.14mn he was paid in 2018.

It brings van Beurden’s total compensation from Shell since becoming chief executive in 2014 to more than £90mn at today’s exchange rates, according to Financial Times calculations.

In nine years in the top job, van Beurden oversaw the $52bn acquisition of BG Group, relocated the company’s headquarters to London and overhauled its strategy with a commitment to reduce oil production and slash emissions.

He steered the business through the coronavirus pandemic but also faced criticism, not least in his native Netherlands, where a court ruled in 2021 that Shell needed to cut emissions faster.

Van Beurden is due to continue working for Shell as an adviser to the board until June, when he will leave the group. He will be paid a further £1.42mn, equivalent to one year’s base salary, between July and December in compensation for “loss of office”, Shell said last year.

Wael Sawan, who took over from Van Beurden as chief executive in January, will receive a base salary of £1.4mn, a target bonus of 125 per cent of salary and a maximum bonus of 250 per cent, the company said.

Sawan has committed to improving financial performance and maximising returns to shareholders as he seeks to close a valuation gap between Shell and US rivals Exxon and Chevron.

The new chief executive is reviewing parts of Shell’s business, including the group’s commitment to allow oil output to decline by 1-2 per cent a year to help reduce emissions, according to people familiar with the plans. Sawan has said he will advise shareholders of any changes at the group’s investor day in June.

Sinead Gorman, who was appointed chief financial officer in April 2022, was paid £2.9mn. Her base salary this year will rise by 2.8 per cent to £925,000.

In recognition of the group’s performance Shell also made a one-off “special” payment last year to 81,000 employees of 8 per cent of salary, it said.

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