Shell Chairman Jorma Ollila said the board would "take this very seriously," promising to meet with shareholders to make "the right decisions" on executive pay, The Times of London reported Tuesday.
Investors representing nearly 60 percent of the company's shares voted against the executive pay policy.
In a three-year policy begun in 2005, executives were to be given shares up to 200 percent of their base pay if the company met certain performance measures. The company failed to reach the goals, but executives decided to award themselves part of their bonuses, anyway.
Pay policies are generally rubber-stamped by shareholder votes. Tuesday's vote does not provide a "clawback" provision that would allow the shareholders to demand the return of the bonuses. However, it is likely the company will be forced to restructure its remuneration policy for the future, The Times said.