PARIS Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) Chief Executive Frederic Oudea's bonus rose 75 percent last year to 1.2 million euros ($1.56 million), even as France's No. 2 bank moved to cut costs and sell assets.
The disclosure follows a rise in pay for Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, the head of larger rival BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), whose bonus rose more than 40 percent to 1.68 million euros in 2012 - his first full year as CEO of France's biggest listed bank.
It is the latest sign that executive pay at top European banks is on the rise, despite lingering anger from investors and politicians over taxpayer-funded bailouts during the financial crisis.
BNP's net income rose 8.3 percent in 2012 to 6.55 billion euros, while SocGen's fell by two-thirds after it booked losses on operations in Russia and from selling assets.
Both SocGen and BNP have begun fresh cost-cutting plans as the weak euro zone economy threatens retail profits at home and tougher regulations squeeze corporate and investment banking.
French bankers' total pay packages are a pale shadow of the numbers seen abroad at banks such as Credit Suisse CSGN.VX and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), however.
BNP's Bonnafe was awarded 2.87 million euros in total pay for 2012 while SocGen's Oudea was awarded 2.2 million, up around one-third year-on-year in both cases.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank's co-CEOs each earned 4.9 million euros for 2012, while Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan was awarded 7.77 million Swiss francs ($8.12 million).
($1 = 0.7709 euros)
($1 = 0.9573 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)