* BP shareholders approve pay policy by 97 percent
* BP slashed CEO 2016 pay by 40 pct after uproar
By Ron Bousso, Stephen Eisenhammer and Dmitry Zhdannikov
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - BP shareholders on Wednesday approved an $11.6 million pay package for chief executive Bob Dudley, after the oil and gas company cut it in response to investor pressure.
Shareholders at BP’s annual general meeting also approved a new remuneration policy that will lower performance incentives.
With the vast majority of votes counted, shareholders adopted BP’s 2016 pay by a majority of 97.09 percent, the highest in at least 10 years, and the new pay policy by a majority of 97.32 percent.
Last year, around 60 percent of shareholders opposed BP’s pay policy after a record loss amid a sharp slump in oil prices.
“At our meeting last year, you, our shareholders, sent us a very clear message on how we approached paying our executive directors,” BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said.
BP’s pay policy changes, which will apply for the coming three years, include lowering Dudley’s maximum long-term payout to five times salary, from seven times, and cutting bonus payments by a quarter.
Dudley’s 2016 pay was some 40 percent lower than the previous year and was a result of “downward discretion” to the four components of his total pay, the company said.
But even after a cut of nearly $8 million, Dudley’s pay remains well above that of rival European oil companies.
Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden was awarded an 8.263 million euro ($8.8 million) pay package for 2016, while Total’s Patrick Pouyanne’s was 3.8 million euros.
Dudley told the AGM that BP was one of the fastest growing oil and gas companies in the world as it prepares to launch new projects that will boost production by 800,0000 barrels per day by 2020.
By the end of the decade, Dudley expects BP to produce as much as oil and gas as before the 2010 U.S. Gulf of Mexico spill, which forced it to sell a third of its assets to cover litigation costs. (Editing by Alexander Smith)