Anger over former Fortis executive's payoff
Trades unions slate payment to former Fortis top executive, a 4 million euro golden handshake.23 October 2008
The news that Gilbert Mittler, the former Fortis top executive, received a 4 million euro golden handshake when he resigned from the company, has set off a wave of negative reactions.
Mittler was the architect of Fortis's financial strategy. The Belgian-Dutch bank earlier had to be rescued by the Belgian and Dutch authorities. The Belgian part of the bank is now owned by BNP Paribas of France.
Mittler was the brains behind Fortis's takeover of the Dutch bank ABN Amro which led to Fortis' demise.
Belgian Premier Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian Democrat) says he's indignant about the size of Mittler's severance payment.
Mittler's 4 million euro payment was intended to compensate him for the loss of three years of earnings.
Mr Mittler was not the only Fortis top executive to benefit from a large severance payment. Former Fortis CEO Jean-Paul Votron received a payment of 1.35 million euros.
After the rescue of Fortis the Belgian Government insisted that no excessive severance payments should be paid.
Premier Leterme wants to examine whether the money can be recuperated.
Mittler is still working as an advisor to Fortis. The Premier also wants to find out whether this is still tenable.
Trades unions slate payment
Trades unionist Oscar Van Steenbrugge told the VRT that he was gobsmacked when he heard about the payment. The unions knew nothing about it until now.
Mr Van Steenbrugge said that such a payment was not acceptable. He added that given the current situation there should be greater respect for the company's staff and customers.
He is demanding that Mr Mittler repays the monies.