[EUROPE] Anger at Royal Dutch Shell's golden handcuffs

Royal Dutch Shell is facing a showdown with investors over its plans to pay £3m to directors simply to stay on the board for three years.

The oil giant is giving shares equivalent to their annual salary - around £1m each - to finance director Peter Voser, exploration and production director Malcolm Brinded and gas and power director Linda Cook 'to enhance retention ahead of the forthcoming board successions'. Chief executive Jeroen van der Veer is due to retire next June, while Robert Routs, head of its downstream and chemicals business, will leave by the end of the year. Royal Dutch Shell is keen to keep the three directors on board to ensure continuity.

But one investor said the payments were pointless: 'I have not seen a business it works in. The executives still leave.'

Corporate governance monitor PIRC is also recommending that its members vote against the remuneration report, saying: 'PIRC does not support the use of retention awards, in particular when no performance conditions are applied.'

Source: The Observer|By Heather Connon

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