Shell CEO takes large pay cut after bruising 2020

Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden’s pay package dropped by 42% to $7 million in 2020, a year in which the coronavirus pandemic pushed the energy company to a historic dividend cut following a collapse in profits.

Van Beurden, who initially oversaw growth in Shell’s oil and gas output after taking office in 2014, is now leading the Anglo-Dutch company through a shift towards low-carbon energy in an effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The unprecedented hit to the energy sector last year due to the pandemic, which briefly knocked benchmark U.S. oil prices into negative territory, forced Shell to cut its dividend for the first time since World War Two.

As global demand for oil and gas plunged last year, Shell’s profit tumbled to a two-decade low while its shares hit their lowest since the 1990s.

Van Beurden’s total remuneration for 2020 was 5.8 million euros ($6.93 million), compared with about 10 million euros the year before, the company disclosed in its annual report on Thursday.

In 2019, Van Beurden’s remuneration had also dropped by 51%.

The oil major announced on Thursday that former BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie would become its next chairman to succeed Charles Holliday, who steps down on May 18 after being in the role for six years.

Mackenzie will also likely lead the search in the coming years for a successor to van Beurden.

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