© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An entrance sign at the Chevron refinery, located near the Houston Ship Channel, is seen in Pasadena, Texas, U.S., May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
By Sabrina Valle
HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:) and Chevron Corp (NYSE:) paid their chief executives more than $22 million each last year, according to securities filings released on Thursday, the day after U.S. lawmakers accused oil companies of price gouging at a time of high gasoline prices.
Exxon paid CEO Darren Woods $23.6 million last year, up from $15.6 million in 2020. Woods also received a $3.1 million cash bonus, the filing showed.
Chevron CEO Michael Wirth was paid $22.6 million in 2021, down from $29 million in 2020, according to Thursday’s filing. Wirth received a $4.5 million cash bonus.
On Wednesday, a panel of U.S. Congress members grilled the heads of some of the world’s largest publicly traded oil companies. The executives defended U.S. oil producers from price gouging charges, saying they are adding to output and no one company sets the price of fuel.
“You are cashing multi-million dollar paychecks and you are profiting personally off your stock options, (while) telling us that your hands are tied,” said U.S. Representative Lori Trahan, Democrat from Massachusetts. “Meanwhile, there are millions of folks who are seriously considering taking a second or third job just to make ends meet.”
Woods on Wednesday said Exxon’s profits and its shareholder dividends benefit families all over the United States.
Wirth noted that his pay fell in 2021, correcting Representative Nanette Barragan, Democrat of California, over her assertion he was earning more as rising fuel prices hurt consumers.
Proxy votes against executive pay at companies became more common last year, according to a report by As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy group focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.