Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester refused to give up his £963,000 bonus yesterday as pressure escalated when his own chairman rejected a shares reward.
Hester, 51, sparked fury by accepting a £963,000 payout on top of his £1.2million salary as RBS chief executive – despite the state-owned bank’s share price falling 48 per cent.
But he is facing more calls to give up the bonus after RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton rejected a£1.4million windfall he was due next month.
Hampton told the bank’s remuneration committee it would not be appropriate for him to receive the 5.17million shares.
So Hester is sticking to taking his cash bonus and Hampton is declining his shares. My immediate thought is that Hester should be taking a bigger share bonus and no cash, but because he insists on taking cash and Hampton is not keen on shares, even though he is contractually entitled to them, they both reckon the shares aren't going to be worth shit.
Hampton is playing a canny game here, because I'm sure someone will slip him a quiet bung somehow. Probably the Chancellor.
My best guess is that the government is planning to intervene massively in the running of RBS within the next year, which will really fuck RBS's value completely. Hampton can't take his shares and dump them without a massive alarm signal going off. Hester is going to rack up the cash while he can.
I am such a fucking cynic sometimes.
Update: Unduly cynical, it seems. (To be fair, I had thought Hester's bonus had been share based, but my Google-fu failed me.)
Tip of the clown wig to @williamhenryson for the correction.