Jan. 27 - Royal Bank of Scotland cuts it chief executive's 2011 bonus to £963,000 ($1.5 mln), heeding political pressure to curb pay by cutting Hester's bonus to under the symbolically important £1m level. Hayley Platt reports.
The chief of the UK's majority state-owned bank RBS is to receive a bonus of almost a million pounds. Steven Hester is to be paid 963,000 pounds in shares on top of his 1.2 million pound salary. It's half what he got in 2010, but the decision has caused outrage amongst union leaders and politicians. They wanted RBS to cancel any sort of bonus for Hester, especially as the bank's cut 30,000 jobs since he became CEO. SOUNDBITE: VOX POP, RBS CUSTOMER IN SCOTLAND, SAYING (English): "I'm a pensioner and a shareholder in RBS and I have lost quite a lot of money and I feel like writing to Mr Hester and saying: 'I will have dot-dot-dot thousand out of your bonus.'" SOUNDBITE: VOX POP, RBS CUSTOMER IN SCOTLAND, SAYING (English) "This guy's getting an extra million on top of his 1.2 million salary I'd rather it went to the customer services people or the people in the banks than him" RBS says the bonus reflects the progress made since he took over in 2008 as the bank neared collapse. It's now 83 percent owned by the British taxpayer. The bonuses have become a highly charged political issue, with many considering Hester a public servant, even though he earns many times the British Prime Minister's salary of 142,000 pounds. SOUNDBITE: ED MILIBAND, BRITISH OPPOSITION LEADER, SAYING (English): "This is a disgraceful failure of leadership by the Prime Minister. For months he's been promising action about excessive bonuses and pay. Now he's nodded through a million pound bonus for Stephen Hester." But defenders say executives of Hester's calibre wouldn't be attracted to such high pressure jobs if they're not handsomely rewarded, and a bonus culture is essential. Hayley Platt, Reuters