April 11 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca's shareholders on Thursday approved a 2024 remuneration policy, which will boost Chief Executive Pascal Soriot's pay package to as much as 18.9 million pounds ($23.7 million) this year.

The result is a major boost to one of the best-paid executives among London's blue-chip FTSE 100 at a time when British firms are looking to match U.S. and European rivals' pay packages to increase competitiveness and reward leadership.

Of the 1.18 billion total votes cast, 64.43% were in favour of the resolution that will take Soriot's maximum annual bonus for 2024 to 3 times his base salary, up from 2.5 times, and make him eligible for long-term performance-based share awards worth as much as 8.5 times his salary, up from 6.5 times.

Since taking the helm in 2012, Frenchman Soriot has transformed AstraZeneca into the UK's second-most valuable listed company after Shell.

Earlier on Thursday, the drugmaker announced a 7% hike to 2024 dividend payouts, betting on a strong performance and cash generation from its blockbuster drugs and several recent acquisitions.

Ahead of the vote, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, which make recommendations to shareholders on how to vote at annual meetings and on matters of corporate governance, had urged investors to reject the pay plan.

($1 = 0.7973 pounds) (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)