THE HEAD OF a bank owned mainly by the British government has been awarded a bonus worth £930,000 (just over €1 million), amid public outcry and calls for him to return it.
Stephen Hester, the CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is on a salary of £1.2 million (€1.4 million). He was not in charge of the bank when it nearly collapsed and has been trying to turn its fortunes around since he took over the job.
Last year he received a bonus worth around €2.3 million.
Hester has faced calls from Labour politicians, unions, the media and the public to turn down the bonus.
Pressure on him to refuse the bonus increased today as the bank’s chairman said that he is to turn down his own share-based bonus worth around £1.4 million. Channel 4 News reports that Philip Hampton told the remuneration committee of the bank that it would be inappropriate for him to take the shares.
British taxpayers have an 83 per cent stake in the bank which was part nationalised after it came close to collapse. It made a net profit of £1.2 billion (€1.4 billion) in the third quarter of last year but the share price of the bank has slumped and it has shed thousands of jobs.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said that the decision to pay the bonus to Hester recognised “tangible achievement in the business” and would “protect the interest of our shareholders, including of course the UK taxpayer”.
- Additional reporting by Associated Press