Skip to main content

British Gas owner Centrica faces investor criticism over CEO’s £4.5m pay


British Gas owner Centrica has been slammed by a prominent City investor over the massive pay package awarded to its CEO.

This is following ongoing scrutiny of windfall gains resulting from share price declines during the pandemic.

Sky News has learned Abrdn, one of London’s influential institutional shareholders, intends to vote against Centrica’s remuneration report later this month, expressing discontent over long-term incentives granted during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read More: CEO pay in US giants reaches average of $14.7 million

Despite the controversy surrounding energy suppliers’ profits and a scandal involving the treatment of customers with pre-payment meters, Centrica’s CEO, Chris O’Shea, received £4.5 million in compensation last year.

Andrew Mason, Head of Active Ownership at Abrdn, stated the opposition to Centrica’s remuneration report stems from the CEO’s windfall bonus and the pre-payment meter crisis.

Mr. Mason said: “In 2020, the CEO received a Long-Term Incentive Plan grant that was not appropriately adjusted to reflect the depressed share price during Europe’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read More: Zoom will cut 1,300 jobs as CEO takes 98 percent pay reduction

“This has resulted in a windfall award to the CEO valued at £2.26 million.”

He explained: “Secondly, the company has granted the CEO a generous annual bonus of £1.42 million, which we believe does not consider the impact of forced prepayment installations on vulnerable customers during the ongoing cost of living crisis and the current investigation by Ofgem.”

Mr. Mason expressed concerns about the reputational damage caused by the remuneration committee’s decisions, the failure to consider the experiences of vulnerable customers and the misalignment with shareholder interests.

Looking for a new job? Find the WhatJobs Career Advice Center here

While Abrdn owns just 0.5 percent of Centrica’s shares, their position highlights the sensitivity of City investors towards perceptions of excessive gains resulting from share price declines during the pandemic.

However, the likelihood of a widespread revolt against Centrica’s remuneration report remains low, as both Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, the two largest proxy advisers, have recommended voting in favor of the resolution.

Follow us on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook

Judge rejects privacy lawsuit against Meta 


A Superior Court judge in Washington has dismissed a privacy lawsuit filed by the District of Columbia against Facebook parent Meta.

The suit accused the company of misleading consumers by improperly sharing their data with third parties, including Cambridge Analytica. 

The judge’s decision marks a rare victory for Meta amidst its numerous legal battles in privacy, antitrust, and consumer protection disputes.

Read More: Meta fights back against FTC in privacy violation case

Judge Maurice A. Ross said Facebook’s policies had disclosed how third parties get data “such that a reasonable consumer could not have been misled.”

The lawsuit was filed by the district’s attorney general in 2018 after revelations that Cambridge Analytica obtained data from millions of Facebook users without their consent, including those in Washington, D.C. 

However, Judge Ross determined that Facebook had adequately informed users about data sharing and had taken appropriate measures to address the Cambridge Analytica incident.

Read More: Meta threatens to pull news in California over payment law

While the dismissal of the suit is significant for Meta, which continues to face global legal challenges, it stands out due to its connection to the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. 

The incident shed light on the vulnerabilities of Facebook’s user data and led to criticism from lawmakers and regulators worldwide. 

The Federal Trade Commission previously fined Facebook $5 billion for privacy abuses related to the scandal.

Meta has also reached a $750 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over data sharing. 

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

However, its legal battles related to Cambridge Analytica are ongoing, with a recent rejection of its bid to dismiss a shareholder lawsuit by a Delaware judge.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed how user data from Facebook could be leaked and used for targeted political profiling. 

The dismissal of the District of Columbia lawsuit adds to the complex narrative surrounding Meta’s handling of disinformation, privacy concerns, and competition issues. 

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Skip to content