The group, which earlier this week unveiled a 16 per cent slide in annual underlying profits amid a drop in commodity prices, said management – including chief executive Andrew Mackenzie – had been in line to receive their full bonuses under the rules of its five-year incentive plan.
For the awards to vest in full, the total shareholder return (TSR) at BHP had to outperform its peers by an average of 5.5 per cent a year over five years.
Although returns to investors fell by 9.4 per cent, that compared with a 44 per cent slump among its rivals, easily meeting the target.
However, BHP said its remuneration committee has the discretion to reduce the number of awards that will vest, and it had decide to trim the payouts in recognition of the losses suffered by shareholders.
The world’s largest miner said: “While the committee recognised that the TSR performance was delivered in a difficult business environment, it also felt that more closely aligning the experience of shareholders and executives was important.”
Mackenzie, who grew up in Kirkintilloch and replaced Marius Kloppers as BHP’s chief executive in May, receives a basic salary of $1.7 million (£1.1m) a year, and has also chosen to give up a further 50,000 shares in the firm.