No more golden handshakes

24th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

Following former Fortis top executive's 4 million euro golden handshake, the PM promises strict measures.

Key ministers today agreed on taking strict measures to put a stop to excessive severance payments for top executives and CEOs, the so-called golden handshakes or golden parachutes, or to at least set a maximum amount.

A concrete proposal should be ready by 7 November. The government had announced this measure some time ago, but the whole process gained momentum following the revelation about Gilbert Mittler.

Yesterday, it was announced that the former Fortis top executive received a 4 million euro golden handshake when he resigned from the company. Mr Mittler was the brains behind Fortis's takeover of the Dutch ABN Amro bank group which led to Fortis's demise.

The news triggered a wave of negative reactions and PM Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian Democrat) was very indignant.

"It's a slap in the face to people", Mr Leterme said, referring to the many small shareholders who have seen their shares become almost worthless and the government's financial help to save Fortis, paid with tax payers' money.

Mr Leterme also said he wanted to examine whether the money can be recuperated, but this would be almost impossible from a legal point of view.


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