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Sick-leave bank boss declines bonus

The boss of taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group has said he will not take his annual bonus for 2011 to reflect the "impact" his leave of absence had had on the bank.

Antonio Horta-Osorio, who returned to work earlier this week after taking two months off due to severe sleeping problems, said he acknowledged that his absence had had an impact both "inside and outside the bank, including for shareholders".

Lloyds, which is 40.2% state-owned, saw its shares slump when Mr Horta-Osorio stepped down, amid fears that his leave could become permanent and derail progress made on reviving the bank.

The 47-year-old Portuguese-born banker, whose pay and bonus entitlement will be revealed in the group's annual report next month, added that his bonus should reflect the performance of the bank but also the "tough financial circumstances that many people are facing".

The announcement follows a pledge from Prime Minister David Cameron to crack down on City pay, which would include introducing a binding vote for shareholders on executives' salaries.

Mr Horta-Osorio could have received a maximum of 225% of his annual salary, which equates to a total of £2.4 million.

The chief executive started having trouble sleeping in September but took no action until November, when his wife Ana became increasingly worried and encouraged him to seek help. He left the bank in the midst of implementing his strategic review, which included job losses and a revamp of the Halifax brand.

He said: "My goal remains to restore the bank to profitability enabling us to support the country's economic recovery sustainably and giving taxpayers the opportunity to get back their money."

Mr Horta-Osorio, who spent a week in the Priory clinic, previously admitted he "could not switch off" after he "focused too much on too many details". The bank has agreed to an initiative from Mr Horta-Osorio which will reduce his direct reporting lines and strengthen the roles of its senior management team.

Lloyds chairman Sir Win Bischoff said the board had accepted Mr Horta-Osorio's request not to receive his bonus.


From Belfast Telegraph