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BP defends corporate bonuses

March 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

HOUSTON, March 7 (UPI) -- British oil company BP is a global enterprise that must compete to retain top talent with financial rewards, a company official said.

BP announced it reached a $7.8 billion settlement with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee, a consortium of individuals and businesses involved in a multi-district suit against the oil company for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The settlement would come for a $20 billion trust fund set up by BP. The company still faces a federal challenge, though BP gave Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley and Tony Hayward, the former CEO, financial incentives, The Washington Post reports.

Hayward, under the terms of a three-year incentive plan, received $1.1 million in shares even though he resigned from the company in 2010.

Dudley received a bonus awards and stock grants, though the Post said those are smaller when compared to top executives at other supermajors. He'd get a bonus worth 225 percent of his base $1.7 million salary, however, if the company exceeds targets.

Antony Burgmans, BP's chairman for remunerations, was quoted as defending the bonuses.

"We recognize a concern by government, and society at large, of excess in this area but cannot ignore the reality of a global competitive market for top executive talent," he said.

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