Standard Chartered still in dispute over Talwar's pay-off

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The Independent Online

Standard Chartered, the London-based bank focused on emerging markets, is locked in a stubborn legal battle with its former chief executive over the size of his pay-off.

Rana Talwar, who was ousted in November, has yet to receive any payment from the bank other than his basic salary since his shock departure. He was paid $877,000 (£617,600) for working 11 months last year, meaning his annual salary was $957,000, up from $919,000 in 2000. His benefits fell from $49,000 to $33,000.

Mr Talwar, 52, received no bonus, despite fellow executives receiving payments of between 80 per cent and 120 per cent of their basic salaries.

He is thought to be claiming compensation for the unexpired part of his contract, which was due to run until October 2003, and foregone future bonuses. The company has a policy of paying bonuses of up to 150 per cent of basic salary according to individual performance.

Standard Chartered declined to say why it had paid no bonus to Mr Talwar. An undisclosed sum had been set aside pending resolution of the dispute, and had been treated as an operating cost in the company's 2001 financial results.

"We only have to report what directors are paid. We do not have to say why they received what they received, aside from their basic salary," a spokesman said.

Total bonuses paid to the bank's seven other executives had fallen by $865,000 in view of the bank's performance last year during the global economic slowdown, the spokesman added.

Mr Talwar's sudden departure followed speculation of a boardroom bust-up between the chief executive and the chairman, Sir Patrick Gillam, over the bank's strategy amid reports of tentative bid approaches from Barclays and Lloyds TSB.

The only Asian chief executive of a FTSE 100 company, Mr Talwar joined Standard Chartered in October 1998 from Citigroup, the US financial services giant. He was succeeded by Mervyn Davies, who formerly ran the bank's operations in Hong Kong.