ABN Amro IPO back in sight after executives concede on pay

Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:16pm EDT
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By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government will reconsider selling off ABN Amro [ABRGPA.UL], Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said, after senior managers agreed to give up a controversial pay rise that had stalled progress on the bank's proposed share listing.

In the face of a widespread public outcry, the managers said they would give up raises of 100,000 euros ($110,000) each, which had been approved by the supervisory board for six members of the managing board, all but Chief Executive Gerrit Zalm.

Lawmakers, who must approve an initial public offering, had decried the raises as evidence that the bank's management culture was still flawed. Dijsselbloem said on Friday he would delay privatization until questions over the increase were resolved.

Thousands of bank employees had lost their jobs after the bank's 2008 nationalization, which cost taxpayers billions of euros. Last year the union representing workers at the bank agreed to a two-year freeze on salaries.

Zalm, who did not get a raise, said managers' annual base salary was increased after a law had limited bonuses in the financial sector to 20 percent.

In a statement on Sunday, the managers said they were "putting the interests of the bank and the public first".

"Now that our remuneration is the subject of discussion and threatens to affect the future of ABN Amro ... (we) have decided to renounce the allowance," the managers wrote.

Dijsselbloem quickly responded that he "welcomed the step".   Continued...

The ABN Amro logo is seen in central London May 29, 2007. REUTERS/Stephen Hird