The six members of the executive board at ABN Amro have decided not to accept their controversial €100,000 pay rise following a storm of criticism.
‘We understand and regret the turbulence that has arisen. The turbulence is detrimental to our clients, our employees and the public’s trust in ABN Amro,’ the board said in a statement.
The rise, announced last week, generated a furious reaction from MPs and unions, who said it was morally wrong for a nationalised bank which had been bailed out by taxpayers. The decision was also criticised by finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem who went on to delay ABN Amro’s IPO because of the uproar.
In the statement on Sunday afternoon, the board says it was recruited after ABN Amro was nationalised to ‘prepare who severely damaged bank for an IPO’.
The 17% pay rise recommended by the supervisory board was granted in line with ‘democratically enacted legislation’ and ‘complies with the letter and spirit of the law’ the statement said.
Dijsselbloem said on Sunday evening he welcomed the decision not to accept the pay rise and that the move would contribute towards the recovery of confidence in the bank.
The Financieele Dagblad described the change of heart as a ‘desperate attempt’ to heal the rift between the bank and its state shareholder so the IPO can go ahead as planned.
The paper points out that Dijsselbloem did not raise any objections to the rise when it was initiated last year.
Nevertheless, the supervisory board’s miscalculation could turn out expensive in the long run and cost the taxpayer a lot of money, the paper said.
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