Sir Peter Job and the remuneration committee at Royal Dutch Shell are facing calls to step down.
The calls were made after the oil major became the UK’s most high-profile victim of a shareholder revolt.
In the latest sign of increasing activism among institutional shareholders and anger at what are deemed excessive payouts, 59.4pc of shareholders rejected Shell’s remuneration report at a fiery annual general meeting on Tuesday.
It is the second time that Sir Peter, the chair of the remuneration committee, has been involved in a major dispute over pay. He was on the remuneration committee at GlaxoSmithKline when its pay package was voted down in 2003.
Shell is unlikely to reverse the pay deal because the vote is only deemed to be advisory but shareholders are looking for change, including a restructuring of the remuneration committee. A significant proportion of shareholders, 8pc, also rebelled against pay last year.
Their anger has been stoked up after Shell missed its target of finishing third in a peer group of five companies, but directors used their discretion to give executives about half of the share awards. One shareholder asked yesterday, while joining calls for Sir Peter to quit: “Why reward failure?”
Legal & General and Capital Group, two of the largest shareholders, refused to comment, although it is thought that L&G, along with fellow institutional shareholder Standard Life, voted against the remuneration report. Franklin Mutual, another key investor, asked Sir Peter during the AGM whether he would quit if the company lost the pay vote.
Michael Rendell, the head of PricewaterhouseCooper’s human resources consultancy, said he feared a string of non-executives could step down from their posts because of the increasing pressure they are facing.
“It’s a very challenging role and one of the most high-profile in business at the moment,” he said.
Members of GSK’s remuneration committee, including Sir Peter, stepped down within 19 months of the drug companies’ controversial pay deal being rejected.
Sir Peter is also chairman of the remuneration committee at Schroders, where about 7pc of shareholders voted against the pay deal this year. He earned about £200,000 last year for his two roles. He is joined on the Shell committee by Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, the former diplomat who was comfortably re-elected at the annual meeting, and Dr Josef Ackerman, chairman of Deutsche Bank.