* CEO Dougan pipped as top Credit Suisse earner by Shafir
* Dougan holds 22.6 mln Sfr in vested stock; 5.1 mln in unvested shares
* Shareholder activist criticizes proportion of bonus to salary
By Katharina Bart
ZURICH, March 23 Credit Suisse Group AG chief Brady Dougan took a more than 50 percent pay cut last year as the bank's earnings slumped 62 percent and its stock tumbled 41 percent, the bank said on Friday.
Yet Dougan still drew criticism for banking 5.8 million francs ($6.3 million) in salary and share-based bonuses, which the Swiss lender said recognised his contribution to long-term strategy.
Dougan, paid 12.8 million Swiss francs in 2010, did not comment. Through a host of past share-based bonus programmes, he holds Credit Suisse stock worth more 22.6 million francs and another 5.1 million worth of shares yet to vest.
Dougan was not Credit Suisse's top earner for 2011 - that honour went to Robert Shafir, who earned 8.5 million francs for running the asset management arm which posted a 10 percent rise in pretax profit. Shafir's pay for 2010 was not disclosed.
Credit Suisse said Shafir had successfully repositioned the asset management unit and cut costs, focused on more stable fee-based revenue, and managed risk proactively and with discipline.
Both pay disclosures are likely to spark investor ire, particularly in Switzerland where calls for Credit Suisse to trim its costly investment bank have grown louder.
"The compensation is too high in proportion to the drop in the bank's financial results," Roby Tschopp of Swiss shareholder activist group Actares told Reuters. Specifically, Actares criticized Dougan's award of a bigger share-based bonus than fixed salary.
At the end of 2011, Shafir held awards based on Credit Suisse shares out of past bonus programs worth nearly 8.6 million Swiss francs, plus vested shares worth nearly 5 million francs at current market value.
Credit Suisse said it hasn't paid top executives any cash awards for the last four years, in favour of various stock-based schemes which are linked to the bank's share price.
The bank has increasingly turned to long-dated stock-based instruments to reward its top executives, and has also begun pooling riskier assets into bonus programs for investment bankers three years ago.
In January, the bank unveiled a new instrument dubbed PAF2, which will link bonuses for 5,500 managing directors and directors to some $5 billion in illiquid assets that tumbled in value in the credit crisis.
Dougan's pay is slightly less than that of UBS AG's Sergio Ermotti, who earned nearly 6.4 million francs for 2011, including more than 4 million in various immediate and deferred cash and share-based bonuses. Ermotti was named CEO of UBS in September, after former head Oswald Gruebel quit following a $2 billion trading scandal.
German rival Deutsche Bank AG paid CEO Josef Ackermann, who will step down in May, 9.35 million euros ($12.34 million) last year, up from 8.98 million euros in 2010, while Asia-focused Standard Chartered Plc said on Friday it paid its investment bank chief Mike Rees $13.4 million in salary, bonus, benefits and long-term share awards.
The Swiss banker pay is in sharp contrast to the 17 million pounds ($26.9 million) that Barclays Plc paid boss Bob Diamond last year, with past awards that had been deferred swelling his payout.
Diamond was paid 1.35 million pounds salary and 2.7 million in bonus (in deferred shares) for 2011. He also received benefits worth 474,000 pounds, covering things like medical insurance, a chauffeur and tax advice, and shares worth 12.6 million pounds from past awards.