RBS chairman waives $2.2 million bonus after Hester row

Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:12am EST
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By Sudip Kar-Gupta

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS.L: Quote) Chairman Philip Hampton will not pick up a 1.4 million pound ($2.2 million) stock bonus, the bailed-out bank said, following public anger and political squabbling over a 1 million pound bonus for its chief executive.

Anger over bankers' earnings has shown few signs of abating, with many still set for million pound salaries while elsewhere thousands lose their jobs as the global economy stutters in the face of Europe's debt crisis.

In Britain, the salaries of top staff at RBS and Lloyds (LLOY.L: Quote) are particularly controversial because both banks were bailed out to the tune of 66 billion pounds during the credit crisis, with Britain ending up with an 83 percent stake in RBS along with a 40 percent holding in Lloyds.

"Sir Philip Hampton will not receive the 5.17 million shares he was awarded in 2009 when he joined RBS," said a spokesman for the bank.

Based on RBS's closing share price of 27.74 pence Friday, Hampton's share-based award would have been worth 1.4 million pounds. In 2010, Hampton received a basic salary of 750,000 pounds, with no extra performance bonus or benefits.

The decision not to proceed with Hampton's stock award comes after politicians from across the spectrum criticised the company's decision to give its chief executive Stephen Hester a stock bonus worth roughly 1 million pounds.

Earlier this week, RBS halved CEO Hester's stock bonus for 2011 to just under 1 million pounds from 2 million pounds in 2010, but resisted calls to axe the bonus altogether. Hester has a basic salary of 1.2 million pounds.

The decision by Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio to waive his bonus after he spent time off work on sick leave, had put further pressure on Hester to make a similar gesture.   Continued...

<p>Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Chairman Sir Philip Hampton rides an escalator before the start of the the company's annual general meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland April 28, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir</p>