BOB Keiller, the former chief executive of Wood Group, received a ‘golden parachute’ of almost £500,000 when he decided to leave the group in December to pursue other interests, the firm’s annual report shows.

Mr Keiller, 52, who oversaw 8,000 job cuts last year across the Aberdeen-based oil services business – 2,000 of them in the UK – received a ‘payment in lieu of notice’ of £477,346 when he left the business with ‘good leaver status’ on 31 December 2015.

This was more than two months after Wood Group announced on 6 October that Mr Keiller had decided to retire, briefing later that this was ‘entirely’ his own decision.

Wood Group said a mutual decision had been taken to have Mr Keiller’s successor in position at the start of the financial year (1 January 2016), and added that the remuneration policy had been approved by more than 92 per cent of the group’s shareholders.

“The remuneration policy objective is to provide a compensation package which promotes the long term success of the group, and which attracts and retains key executives while creating an appropriate alignment between incentivised executive performance and the interests of shareholders,” a spokesperson said.

The annual report shows that, while Mr Keiller’s salary rose 12.5 per cent to £630,000 between 2014 and 2015, there was an average zero per cent change for all other UK employees of the group. Wood Group employs 36,000 people across 50 countries. The company said Mr Keiller’s 12.5 per cent salary increase had actually been awarded in January 2014 but deferred for 12 months.

Mr Keiller, who is now chairman of Scottish Enterprise, also received a bonus of £294,000 in 2015, down 22 per cent on the year before. This compares to a 34 per cent fall in the average bonus of all other UK employees.

Under Mr Keiller’s leadership, Wood Group made $148 million in cuts last year as the falling oil price forced the industry to scale back investment. Wood Group’s annual report states that the delivery of these efficiencies – listed as one of several ‘personal objective’ achievements for directors in 2015 – were reflected in the way directors’ bonuses were calculated for the year.

“In the current challenging market, managing our cost base is of critical importance to the group and we have focused on managing utilisation and overhead cost reduction,” the Wood Group spokesperson said, adding that cost efficiencies and overhead cost reduction were consistent themes in objective setting for bonuses.

Not including the ‘payment in lieu of notice’, Mr Keiller saw his total remuneration for 2015 fall 13.8 per cent to £1,146,000 from £1,330,000 in 2014. The total included £114,000 paid out under the group’s long term incentive plan, down 61 per cent from £294,000 in 2014.

Writing in the annual report, David Woodward, chair of Wood Group’s remuneration committee, said: “Conditions in oil and gas markets remained very challenging throughout 2015 and the financial performance of the group reflects this. Against the continued market backdrop of low oil prices, increased focus on efficiency by oil and gas operators, generally, and the consequential reduction in investment in certain areas, group [underlying earnings were] down 15 per cent on 2014, which resulted in significantly reduced annual bonuses of between 37 per cent and 40 per cent of maximum being awarded to executive directors.

“The 2015 group performance also contributed to a low long-term incentive plan pay-out for the performance period 2013 – 2015.”

In the year to 31 December 2015, Wood Group saw underlying earnings fall 14.5 per cent to $469.7 million, on revenues down 23.2 per cent year-on-year to $5.9 billion.

Former SSE chief executive Ian Marchant, who was appointed chairman of Wood Group in May 2014 after previously serving as a non-executive director, received total fees for 2015 of £275,000, up 34 per cent from £205,000 in 2014.

Mr Keiller joined Wood Group’s board following the company’s $955m acquisition in 2010 of PSN, the fast-growth energy services company he set up in 2006 after leading a $280m buyout from Halliburton.

His appointment at Scottish Enterprise is on a part-time basis and runs for three years. It attracts a remuneration of £514 a day for a time commitment of one and a half days a week.