A salary doubling wanted by the Dutch bank ING for its top manager has again been slammed by the Netherland's government. Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra says ING's board should "reconsider this proposal."
Dutch politicians facing municipal elections next week railed further Monday against ING's intention to raise chief executive Ralph Hamer's earnings to what Dutch media estimate would be € 3 million ($3.7 million).
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Finance Minister Hoekstra said the Dutch Cabinet "really wants ING to reconsider this proposal," echoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte's critique last Friday that the proposed raise was "excessive" and "unwise."
During the 2008 global banking crisis, the Dutch state injected €10 billion into ING during a deep restructuring. Ensuing profits enabled ING to repay the bailout plus interest in 2014 – ahead of time.
Board defends pay raise
Last Thursday, ING's supervisory board defended its intended raise – comprising a 2.2 percent base salary raise but coupled with a large bundle of ING shares – describing the remuneration as "well-balanced" to attract highly qualified recruits.
"In what universe are those at the top of ING living in?" retorted Jess Klaver, the leader of the green left party, Groenlinks.
Parliamentarians across party lines also demanded that ING's supervisory board chairman Jeroen van der Veer appear before the Dutch lower chamber this week to explain the bank's stance.
Reporting its earnings in February, ING said its 2017 profits rose 5.5 percent to €4.9 billion, with revenues up 1.4 percent to €17.7 billion.
Last Friday, Dutch newspapers said Hamer's €3-million-pay package would include a 16 percent bonus.
ING's board said on top of Hamers' base salary it was also offering him fixed bank shares equal in value "to 50 percent of gross base salary."
ipj/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)