BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg is the latest boss to face flak from shareholders for ‘overboarding’ – taking on too many directorships.
Svanberg, who enjoys a £785,000 pay and benefits package at BP, also holds the role of chairman at Volvo.
Investor advisory firm Pirc has urged shareholders to vote against his re-election at BP’s annual meeting on May 21. Pirc said he could be too busy elsewhere to lead the oil giant through ‘times of crisis’, as it struggles to restore its fortunes. ‘A chairman cannot effectively represent two corporate cultures,’ Pirc said.
Carl-Henric Svanberg is the latest boss to face flak from shareholders for ‘overboarding’ – taking on too many directorships
Svanberg has already said he is vacating the chair at BP to Helge Lund by the start of next year, but a protest vote would be a mark of disapproval.
Anger at ‘over-boarding’ last week forced Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman of British Gas owner Centrica, to announce he is stepping down. He also chairs Mastercard International, QI0 Technologies and French firm Arc International.
The search for his successor will be led by Centrica’s senior independent director Stephen Hester. But shareholder group ISS queried whether Hester can devote ‘sufficient time to Centrica’ because he is CEO of insurance group RSA.
Scott Forbes has already faced protest votes at two firms he chairs, Rightmove and Ascential. Roberto Quarta, chairman of both Smith & Nephew and scandal-hit WPP, came under fire last month.
Chairing more than one major firm is not prohibited but critics claim there is a risk a chairman may fail to find sufficient time to ensure several firms run effectively.