March 8, 2018 / 11:47 AM / 5 months ago

ING angers Dutch politicians with CEO pay rise plan

AMSTERDAM, March 8 (Reuters) - ING outraged Dutch politicians and unions in the Netherlands on Thursday with a proposal to increase the pay of the bank’s chief executive Ralph Hamers by 50 percent.

Dutch Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said the rise was “excessive”, while members of parliament called for a public hearing to hold ING chairman Jeroen van der Veer to account.

51-year old Hamers, who has led ING since October 2013, will receive the extra pay in the form of ING shares worth 50 percent of his base salary of 1.75 million euros ($2.17 million). He received a total of almost 2 million euros in 2017.

Dutch politicians have tried to limit pay for bank executives since the financial crisis, including by limiting performance bonuses to a maximum of 20 percent of base salaries.

Labour union CNV said ING’s willingness to pay Hamers 50 percent more is “absurd”, as the bank is only offering its other employees a general pay rise of 1.7 percent this year.

Former Shell CEO van der Veer, however, said Hamers had been underpaid for years. “We have postponed this decision time and again, but decided to make a big step now”, he said in an interview with Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad.

ING said the increased pay will rank the bank 44th among the companies in the Euro Stoxx 50 in terms of CEO pay.

Hamers’ base salary will be 2 percent higher than last year, and he will be required to hold on to the shares for at least 5 years. He can lift his total pay to 3.05 million euros by meeting certain targets.

Shareholders will vote on the supervisory board’s proposal at their annual meeting on April 23. ($1 = 0.8078 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer Editing by Alexander Smith)

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