Gulf Keystone Boss Pockets $20m

Todd Kozel (pictured), CEO of Iraq-focused oil explorer Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) will receive a $20 million pay package, making him one of the UK's highest paid executives.

According to Reuters, his earnings doubled in 2011 to at least 12.8 million pounds ($20 million), 11 million of which is in share awards plus a cash bonus of 1.8 million pounds.

That compares to the $15.4 million that Peter Voser, the chief executive of Europe's largest oil company Shell, was paid last year.

"The performance-related awards announced today are in recognition of the company's remarkable growth and outstanding drilling success in the Kurdistan region of Iraq," Gulf Keystone's remuneration committee chairman Mehdi Varzi said.

He added that the bonus and share awards were made following consultation with institutional and other shareholders who together own more than 35 percent of GKP.

Additional potential share awards were also earmarked for Kozel on Thursday, as the firm's remuneration committee drew up plans to set aside 10 million shares, equivalent to around 26 million pounds at the current share price, to be split amongst directors should the company itself or more than 50 percent of its assets be bought.

The $20 million awards to Kozel do not include his salary, which in 2010 was $675,000, according to the company's annual report.

In January, Kozel agreed to transfer 17.4m shares worth £47 million to his wife to fund a divorce settlement.

(Sources: Reuters, Financial Times)

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