Simon English: No cakes for Carnwath after Diamond's bonus
Thursday 26 April 2012
Outlook Is an investment banker the best person to set investment banker pay? Barclays and its brilliant chief executive, Bob Diamond, have good reason to think so.
Alison Carnwath, a corporate financier for two decades before she embarked on a "portfolio career", has been head of the Barclays' remuneration committee since 2010. During that time Diamond Bob has trousered an amount of money that would keep him in hair dye and golf club membership – should he have any need of either – until 4037 (that's a forecast from a City economist, so can't be relied upon entirely). Still, it's only fair, since men of his stature can generally expect to live at least 3,000 years.
A small number of radical agitators – City investment houses with a grudge against society – have lately suggested that Mr Diamond's pay may be toppy. Cripes, they are even thinking of registering a small and ineffectual protest vote. That's how furious they are about how our money is spent.
Ms Carnwath is up for re-election at the Barclays annual meeting tomorrow. Pirc, the pensions consultancy that must always be described as either "powerful" or "influential", say she should be held accountable at the AGM. By which they may mean: no cakes, only one mug of tea.
According to City AM, "friends" of Ms Carnwath believe she is "being unfairly singled out" for criticism. Like most investment bankers, she reasonably considers that she should be praised when times are good and defended when times are bad. Really, just what are this rabble of moaners on about? Don't they realise that with a following wind Ms Carnwath could become the first female chairman of Barclays?
Still, if she herself decides that it may be time to counteract the perfectly unfair view that she's a company stooge who will say yes to any banker passing, she could take matters into her own hands and do the decent thing.
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