Leading article: A rare case of executive humility

 

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Given the Prime Minister's recent vehemence on the subject of executive pay, it is perhaps not surprising that Antonio Horta-Osorio is forgoing his £2m-plus bonus. After all, the Lloyds Banking Group chief executive has just had two months off because of stress-related sleep problems.

The timing of Mr Horta-Osorio's announcement is certainly telling – just days after David Cameron's promise to stop executives undeservedly "filling their boots". And the Lloyds boss will still receive his £1m basic salary.

No matter. Mr Horta-Osorio could easily have tried to brazen it out. Instead, his graciousness in acknowledging the impact of his absence sets a fine example. All that remains is for others to follow it.

Lloyds itself would be a good place to start. After a year that has seen the taxpayer-rescued bank's share price slump by nearly 60 per cent, weighed down by a £3bn insurance mis-selling scandal and 15,000 redundancies, Mr Horta-Osorio's colleagues on the management team would also do well to examine their consciences.

Were the ripple effect to go beyond Lloyds – to John Hourican, for example, the Royal Bank of Scotland executive in line for a £4m bonus even as his division is set to be dramatically scaled back – so much the better.

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