Mr Hester, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, has bowed to mounting public anger and agreed to give up shares worth almost £970,000.
Naturally Stephen Hester’s decision to live on his paltry pay of £1.2m has nothing at all to do with saving the Cameron-Clegg government from embarrassment and possible humiliation in the Commons. Where are the Murdochs’ phone hackers when you need them?
If the bonus was necessary to get Mr. Hester to do a proper job, he will now underperform. Logically he must now be sacked.
In another glimpse into the entitlement world of the banksters, the Sunday Times (yesterday, p.25, paywall) quotes the chairman of a rival bank sounding off indignantly (my italics):
And if he goes, how much would they have to pay the next person? It would either be somebody decent, who will want £10m upfront because they won’t trust the government, or they’ll get the chief executive of an NHS trust, pay them £100,000, and it will be a multi-billion-pound disaster.
Never mind that the chief executives of NHS trusts get basic pay of around £150,000, not £100,000, plus modest performance bonuses by City standards sometimes reaching £20,000: similar to the pay of senior NHS consultants. What’s astonishing is the top banker’s lack of imagination about the rest of the world. Running a big hospital is a order of magnitude more complex than running a bank, even a big and troubled one. You have thousands of high-technology and intrinsically dangerous products (medical procedures) as against a bank’s dozen or so; the key staff – the doctors – are prickly and highly specialised experts, with entrenched professional autonomy; and the consequences of screwing up are deaths, not paper losses. Would you trust Mr. Hester to run a teaching hospital?