Boss deserves credit, but not such a large pay packet

 

Share
Related Topics

Stephen Hester was called in by politicians to run a reeling RBS. Today they and his fellow directors threw him under a bus.

That may yet be a decision that could rebound upon them.

Mr Hester has his flaws. His remuneration remained a subject of controversy with a public struggling under the burden of austerity and weary of the excess of an industry that their taxes have kept running.

He didn’t do himself many favours being seen riding with his local fox hunt like a latterday lord of the manor, or with his admission that even his parents thought he was overpaid. He had an unfortunate habit of putting his foot in his mouth.

And yet RBS was in an awful mess when he took over, with its shares languishing at 9p and the very real prospect it might have to be fully taken into state ownership. Many would argue that it should have been – including Sir Mervyn King, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England.

RBS is now on the road to something like a recovery. The fact is that it is not down to Mr Hester alone, as he acknowledged today, but he nonetheless deserves credit for the job he has done. There are not many who could have done it as well. There are even fewer who would have.

The Treasury certainly had a role in his departure; it couldn’t have been otherwise. But so did Sir Philip Hampton. If the chairman had wanted Mr Hester as his man, he would have got him.

And it’s hard to escape the feeling that Mr Hester has been treated rather shabbily. The announcement, hurried out after the Stock Exchange had closed, and most of the City had gone home, speaks of a defenestration. As such, if the Treasury had hoped Mr Hester’s departure would lead to a quiet spell and a period of peace over pay, it is in for a disappointment.

Sir Philip has made clear that the new man will be paid “a commercial rate”. That could well mean even more than Mr Hester’s hugely contentious salary.

If RBS wants a big name to see it through privatisation, whoever it is will likely demand big money to enter what looks like something of a bear pit.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Assistant Editor: Domestic violence is no petty matter

Siobhan Norton
 

There’s nothing wrong with GM

Steve Connor
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried