Basic executive pay rates rose an average 6% last year

Despite the crisis, executive pay rates began rising again last year after three years of decline, the Volkskrant reported at the weekend.

The increase comes not from bonuses but systematic increases in fixed salaries, the paper’s research shows. On average, basic executive pay has gone up 6% to €512,000. Including bonuses and pension deals, executive pay at 134 large firms rose 7.5% to €1.13m.

The CEO’s basic salary rose at 89 of the 134 companies looked at. These include Rabobank, where profit fell last year and which announced a reorganisation involving job losses.


Top earner last year was Bernard Dijkhuizen of cable company Ziggo whose total package was €15.7m. This includes a large share package which he was given when the company listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

He is followed by ASML’s Eric Meurice who took home €11.2m, partly through cashing in options and shares. Shell’s Peter Voser, Wolters Kluwer’s Nancy McKinstry and Unilever’s Paul Polman make up the top five.

Rising share prices boosted executive pay and golden handshakes were also up to around €1m. Bonuses fell by 20%, on average,’ the paper’s research showed.


By contrast, shop floor pay rose by an average 1.8% last year.

Ton Heerts, head of the country’s biggest trade union group FNV, said the rise in executive pay would become an issue in wage negotiations.

‘You need to have a lot of guts as a boss to say: I have a lot and want more and you will have less,’ Heerts said. ‘This is not going to go well. It will create unrest.’ 

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