DUBLIN, April 10 The Irish government may relax
its cap on bankers' pay to allow Bank of Ireland to
find a suitable new CEO, finance minister Michael Noonan said on
Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher announced last month that
he will retire before the end of the year after almost a decade
in charge of the country's largest lender by assets, which has
begun the search for a replacement.
Since Boucher was appointed CEO in February 2009, shortly
after all Irish-owned lenders sought a state bailout, the
government has imposed a cap of 500,000 euros ($530,000) on
annual salaries at rescued banks.
In a prospectus issued last week in relation to a proposed
share consolidation, Bank of Ireland said the 500,000 euro pay
cap "places it at an increasing competitive disadvantage in
seeking to retain and attract staff, particularly those with
certain skill sets and in international locations."
Noonan said that as the government held only a 14 percent
stake in Bank of Ireland, it might be more flexible over pay
than it has been with the two other lenders it bailed out, which
are still majority state-owned.
"In the case of Richie Boucher's replacement, we'll see who
the replacement is but Richie's salary was never bound by the
cap and we are only a 14 percent investor in the Bank of
Ireland," Noonan told reporters.
"So if they appoint someone significant from outside, I
think the parameters for negotiating pay will be somewhere in
line with Richie Boucher's ... It will depend on who they find.
It's not decided yet."
Boucher's gross annual salary has remained at 690,000 euros
throughout his tenure and his total compensation package was
958,000 euros last year.
Ireland's two other domestically-owned lenders, Allied Irish
Banks and permanent tsb, have changed chief
executives since Ireland's banking crisis and had to adhere to
the pay limits.
Asked if he should get rid of the limits altogether, Noonan
said he would maintain the cap.
($1 = 0.9439 euros)
(Reporting by Conor Humphries, writing by Padraic Halpin,
editing by Susan Fenton)