Despite pay revolt, BP shareholders sticking with Dudley

Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:28am EDT
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By Karolin Schaps

LONDON (Reuters) - The future of Bob Dudley at the head of BP (BP.L: Quote) seems untarnished by shareholders' unusual rejection of his pay package as 99.6 percent of them also backed his re-appointment and trust him to lead the company through a period of weak oil prices.

For the 60-year-old American, who was given the top job following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the vetoing of his $20 million compensation package is the first major faux pas in his time as chief executive.

Such a shareholder revolt would claim many a CEO's scalp but Dudley seems unlikely to be removed as investor confidence in his leadership remains strong.

"I'm not a fan of change for the sake of change," said Robert Smithson, fund manager at THS Partners, whose fund is a BP investor and who voted against the remuneration package.

"Unless there is a really compelling reason of somebody else who can do a better job I think it's probably better he stays."

Dudley's record in protecting the company following the Gulf of Mexico explosion won him respect among investors.

His plan to slim down the company to find capital to pay its more than $50 billion settlement bill from the disaster went down well with shareholders and analysts.

By coincidence it also helped BP prepare for the oil price collapse, as the company began cutting costs long before its peers.   Continued...

BP's Chief Executive Bob Dudley speaks to the media after year-end results were announced at the energy company's headquarters in London, in this February 1, 2011 file photo.  REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/Files