Deutsche Bank CEO's 46% pay rise leads to backlash
January 26, 2022

Deutsche Bank CEO’s 46% pay rise leads to backlash

FRANKFURT (GERMANY) – Deutsche Bank paid Chief Executive Christian Sewing 7.4 million euros ($8.8 million) in 2020, up 46% from a year earlier, which resulted in criticism from unions and politicians.

The bank’s bonus pool was up 29% as it provided staff as rewards for a pandemic-linked boom trading boom, which helped them to fetch profit after years of losses.

The disclosure in the bank’s annual report on Friday came as Deutsche stated that revenue would be “marginally lower” this year.

Germany, which is facing an election year and where the public doesn’t agree of high pay, the Verdi labour union called the payouts “grossly disproportionate” and politicians were also seen expressing criticism.

“It doesn’t fit with the times that Deutsche Bank, which has also indirectly benefited from bailouts time and again, is having a coronavirus party,” Fabio De Masi, a member of Germany’s parliament, said in a statement.

The bank has lost 8.2 billion euros over the last decade.

Its 2020 net profit, which could be attributed to shareholders was 113 million euros after a loss of 5.7 billion the year. This has come as a surge in investment banking earnings compensate weakness in other businesses.

Sewing said in a statement, “In 2020, we made great progress on our transformation into a sustainably profitable bank, and were even more relevant for our clients.”

The bank’s management board let go some of their pay, as part of solidarity with those hit by the coronavirus crisis, the statement noted.

Deutsche has handed out bonuses as workers at the bank’s call centres took to strikes over demands for higher wages. According to union officials, some of those workers earn as little as 12 euros an hour.

Jan Duscheck, who monitors the banking industry at the Verdi trade union, said that it did not validate that top earners get big increases while those at the bottom of the pay scale get next to nothing.

“Such a remuneration policy creates an extremely poor image of the bank and it should be urgently corrected,” Duscheck said in a statement.

Sewing’s package places him among the more highly paid European bank CEOs this year for those that have announced pay packages so far.

At Barclays, CEO Jes Staley was paid 4 million pounds ($5.57 million), down from 5.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Executives at some other banks have also given thumbs up to let go of pay as a sign of support for people affected by the pandemic.

Santander’s executive chairman Ana Botin and chief executive Jose Antonio Alvarez had their total pay cut down by 50% for 2020. Outgoing UniCredit chief executive Jean-Pierre Mustier also deprived himself of his variable compensation for 2020 and cut the rest of his pay by a quarter.

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