Barclays boss Diamond's $27 million payday

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays BARC.L faced another backlash over excessive pay after Chief Executive Bob Diamond took home pay, shares and benefits worth 17 million pounds ($26.9 million) last year.

Barclays said Diamond was paid 6.3 million pounds ($10 million) for 2011, down from 9 million in 2010, and his two lieutenants running investment banking were paid slightly more.

But past awards that had been deferred swelled Diamond’s payout at a time when banks are under fire for failing to show restraint on pay for executives and top staff when thousands of jobs are being cut and wages slashed or put on hold after a recession many blamed on the banks.

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, according to the bank’s annual report released on Friday.

The American investment banker, who took the CEO reins at the start of 2011, also received shares worth 12.6 million pounds from past awards.

He could get an extra 2.25 million pounds of shares or far more if he hits targets in the next three years. Barclays paid 5.7 million pounds in tax related to his move from New York back to London.

Two unnamed senior executives -- almost certain to be Jerry del Missier and Rich Ricci, the co-CEOs who took over the running of Barclays Capital since Diamond’s promotion -- were paid 6.7 million pounds and 6.5 million last year.

Barclays said 238 of its senior management and top staff -- dubbed “Code staff” who are involved in risk-taking decisions -- were paid 357 million pounds for 2011, or an average of 1.5 million each.

Barclays’ profits dipped 3 percent last year to 5.9 billion pounds, forcing Diamond to push back a key profitability target. Its return on equity was 5.8 percent last year, well below its 13 percent target.

The bank has faced criticism after the UK taxman told it to close two “aggressive tax avoidance schemes.” Barclays said it had set aside money to cover any tax bill. It has already had to set aside about 1 billion pounds to compensate customers for mis-selling insurance products.

Barclays also said in its annual report it may have to settle legal and regulatory action against it relating to a global investigation into possible manipulation of interbank lending rates.

Diamond, the Concord, Massachusetts-born son of two teachers, is one of the highest paid bankers in Europe and has often been a lightning rod for criticism in Britain of the industry’s big pay awards.

He waived his bonus for 2009 and 2008 but was paid 21 million pounds for 2007 and he, del Missier and Ricci were paid 28 million pounds and given shares worth 40 million pounds for 2010.

HSBC HSBA.L, another UK bank that avoided taking a state bailout, paid its CEO Stuart Gulliver 8 million pounds for last year, including a 2.2 million pound bonus.

($1 = 0.6323 pound)

Editing by Dan Lalor and Jane Merriman