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Interest in executive pay from shareholders, other stakeholders and the general public continues to be strong. This can be seen in evolving regulatory requirements, increasing focus on pay-for-performance in a very challenging business environment — highlighted by a dramatic drop in crude prices during 2015, clear expectations for transparency in disclosure of executive pay and demonstration of good governance practices.
Compensation linked to goals
Our executive compensation plans, policies and programs are designed to support and reinforce successful strategy execution, achievement of our corporate and business unit goals and to attract and retain top talent, resulting in profitable growth and long-term shareholder value.
To ensure alignment on key priorities, our goal-setting process begins with the president and chief executive officer and cascades through the organization. Goals are established by each of the business units in key areas that will drive the most value:
- continue to advance operational excellence
- improve maintenance and reliability
- achieve long-term sustainability goals
- generate and sustain industry-leading returns
- enhance our culture and workforce performance
We ensure our executives’ focus is linked with the interests of our shareholders by driving alignment on key priorities, and tying executive compensation directly to the achievement of our goals and strategy.
Consistent pay-for-performance approach
To deliver sustained performance and increased shareholder value, it is essential that we attract, engage and retain talented, capable executives who can lead and execute business plans that position us for long-term success. One of the ways we do this is by designing and implementing compensation plans, policies and programs that provide an attractive and competitive total compensation opportunity.
This is demonstrated in the total direct compensation we provide to executives, which has a significant portion (70% to 85% for senior executives) at risk, in the form of short, medium and long-term performance-based pay. Annual, medium and long-term incentive plans are tied directly to operational performance and to absolute and relative increases in shareholder return.
Our incentive-based pay-for-performance design provides executives with the opportunity to increase their compensation when above-target operational and shareholder return performance is achieved and limits their compensation when performance warrants.
This pay-for-performance approach is a fundamental part of our identity, underpins the design of our incentive programs and responds to shareholder expectations of a strong link between executive pay and longer-term value creation.
Oversight of compensation programs
An important responsibility of the board is ensuring that executive compensation plans, policies and programs are aligned with shareholder interests, are competitive and that compensation risks are limited.
This governance responsibility is carried out with the assistance of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee and accomplished through the committee’s mandate which includes:
- review and approval of performance goals
- monitoring and feedback on company performance
- application of sound executive compensation governance based on best practices
- design of executive compensation plans, policies and programs to include thresholds, caps or maximums, performance hurdles and robust share ownership requirements
For more information on executive compensation, download the 2016 Management Proxy Circular (PDF, 111 pp., 910 KB).