BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley made a whopping $19.6 million last year, despite the company’s record losses during the same time period. The oil giant also laid off some 7,000 workers last year, prompting the High Pay Center to accuse BP of losing “contact with reality.” Dudley’s 2015 salary represents a 20-percent increase in total compensation over the previous year’s figures, and the company is defending the hike tooth-and-nail in a way that suggests reality is indeed a foreign concept.
At the same time that the exec’s bloated salary came to light, the company’s annual report shows a record deficit of $6.5 billion for 2015. The losses are directly related to drops in the prices of crude oil and lasting aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite these financial disasters, BP still insists that Dudley’s salary hike – as well as the high earnings of other top directors – was a reward because he “performed strongly in managing the things they could control.”
In response to criticisms, the company noted that Dudley’s 2015 total pay package includes a $3.5 million extra pension adjustment, necessary to make payments under the US scheme to meet UK financial regulations. If pension and retirement are subtracted from the total package, Dudley actually took a bit of a pay cut last year. For anyone who isn’t a financial adviser or compensation specialist, it’s all pretty complicated, but it still feels like the company is hiding behind excuses when it comes to this insane level of executive pay. High Pay Center says the company fails to set an example by paying out millions to top executives while simultaneously axing thousands of jobs.