Spain's BBVA under fire over huge payout to CEO

1st October 2009, Comments 0 comments

News that chief operating officer Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri will receive a EUR-52- million pension provokes criticism by Spanish unions and some lawmakers.

Madrid – Spanish unions and some lawmakers condemned as "obscene" and "scandalous" on Wednesday a multi-million-euro pension paid out to a top executive at Spain's second-biggest bank, BBVA.

The board of BBVA announced on Tuesday it had reached "a common agreement" with chief operating officer Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri to replace him.

The bank has put aside EUR 52.5 million for his pension, which Spanish media said would give him around EUR 3.0 million a year.

The heads of the country's two largest unions, UGT and CCOO, blasted the huge payout at a time when management is calling for cutbacks and layoffs.

This type of news "which unfortunately is frequent", provokes "justified irritation," said Candido Mendez, the secretary general of UGT.

"It's a national and international scandal" at a time of economic crisis, said Gaspar Llamazares, a deputy with the United Left coalition.

"There are cases which are legal but which are obscene in a democracy if the country's current situation is taken into account," said Rosa Diez, a deputy with the centrist UPyD party.

Finance Minister Elena Salgado was more cautious.

"I think that we shouldn't make statements on these matters. It is an ethical consideration on which you know the government's position, but it is a decision of shareholders."

The economic spokesman for the conservative opposition Popular Party Cristobal Montoro described it as "surprising" amid the recession.

World leaders agreed at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in the United States last week that bankers' bonuses should be linked to long-term success, not short-term risky behaviour.

The leaders had indicated a broad consensus on the issue -- a highly symbolic one for angry taxpayers.

AFP / Expatica

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