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Credit Suisse’s bosses have bowed to shareholder and political pressure and agreed to a 40 per cent cut in their controversial bonuses.
The Swiss bank awarded its top twelve executives bonuses of SFr78m earlier this year, right after the bank reported a net loss of SFr2.7bn for 2016. Investor advisers Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass-Lewis publicly opposed the bonuses, as did Swiss lawmaker Thomas Minder, the driving force behind a Swiss shareholder veto on excessive executive pay.
In a statement late on Thursday night, Credit Suisse said that “some shareholders expressed reservations relating to the variable compensation granted to the executive board”. The CEO and executive board volunteered for a 40 per cent cut in their short term incentive awards for 2016 and their long term incentive payments for this year, the statement added.
“My highest priority is to see through the turnaround of Credit Suisse which is under way,” chief executive Tidjane Thiam wrote in a letter to shareholders. “I hope that this decision will alleviate some of the concerns expressed by some shareholders and will allow the executive team to continue to focus on the task at hand.”
“Our decision reflects the total confidence we have in the progress we are making. Although that progress is not yet reflected in our share price, I am confident that our strategy and our disciplined execution will in due course create value for you, our shareholders.”
Mr Thiam, who was awarded total pay of almost Sfr12m for 2016, also volunteered for a 40 per cent pay cut last year, his first year in the job of restoring the fortunes of the bank.