Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

RBS boss: Even mum and dad think I'm overpaid

The high-earning boss of bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland revealed today that even his parents think he is paid too much.

Stephen Hester is poised to earn around £10 million if he turns around the fortunes of the lender that nearly collapsed during last year's banking crisis.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror he said people found it hard to accept big salaries for bankers because they failed to offer "excitement", adding: "Even my parents think I'm overpaid."

Mr Hester, 48, said: "People might moan about how much money pop stars make, or the pay of Premiership footballers, but they tolerate it because they're sources of fun and entertainment.

"The difficulty for bankers is that we're generally reminding people of their limitations - what they can't afford - rather than offering excitement."

His comments came amid a renewed furore over the size of bankers' remuneration after bumper payouts for staff were announced yesterday by investment bank Goldman Sachs - barely a year after the banking crisis.

Staff at the giant - which employs 5,500 people in London - have notched up an average 527,000 US dollars (£325,000) in pay and bonuses so far this year after a sharp rise in profits.

Mr Hester replaced disgraced former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin last autumn, describing the bank at the time as "the world's biggest basket case, about to blow up".

The group is now majority-owned by the Government after a £20 billion bail-out.

Mr Hester - formerly boss of property giant British Land - said he had a five year plan to nurse the group back to health and eventually give taxpayers their money back.

He warned of further job losses, but pointed out that of the 15,000 shed so far, three-quarters had taken voluntary redundancy.

"Yes there will be more job losses," he said.

"There's no point sugar-coating that. There's no point delaying it either. That's not protecting anybody, the bad news will still come - it would be delaying the ability of RBS to get back to health."

Mr Hester added: "We have a five year plan. I hope by the end of the second year all the nasty stuff will be done and during the remaining three years we can reap the rewards from these tough decisions."

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