STRICKEN Anglo Irish Bank forked out almost €1m for the services of chief executive Mike Aynsley last year, including eight return flights to his native Australia and a "housing allowance" to run a second home here.
Details of the banker's package emerged yesterday as the nationalised bank confirmed it had lost €17.7bn last year, marking the biggest loss in Irish corporate history.
Mr Aynsley said the loss should be Anglo's worst, "unless the market tanks again", adding that the bank doesn't expect to need a bigger bailout than the €29.3bn it's already been promised.
Anglo's annual report also showed that the bank wrote off €363m of debts last year, but finance boss Maarten van Eden insisted the bank "hasn't forgiven any loans".
Other Anglo revelations yesterday include:
- The merged Anglo/Irish Nationwide bank will cut about 300 jobs this year, and another 150 over the coming years, leaving it with 850 staff
- The bank sold €2.8bn in assets and loans last year -- it was these sales that led to the €363m write-off since Anglo had to agree sales at a loss.
- Another €1bn of loans and assets have been sold so far this year, also triggering significant write offs.
- Anglo could have to pay clients €45m for overcharging them, and won't be able to force borrowers to use that money to pay off loans "because of consumer laws".
- Anglo's average salary is now close to €100,000 and the bank is still hiring in specialist areas
- The bank expects to get the go-ahead on its wind-down plan from the European Commission in a "couple of weeks".
Mr Aynsley yesterday defended his €974,000 package, saying that it was boosted considerably by special allowances he gets because his family is still living in Australia.
When the banker joined Anglo he was given a "housing allowance" to maintain a home here in addition to his family home in Australia.
Last year's package also features a one-off relocation allowance and eight return tickets for Mr Aynsley and his family to travel back and forth, including four in business class.
All in, the "benefits" come in at €341,000. "Half of that's going straight to tax," Mr Aynsley said.
"But yes, they're very big numbers and I'm very grateful that the Government put this in place because it allowed me to come here.
"When my family comes over here next year, the allowances scale back."
The rest of the Anglo boss's package is made up of a salary of €500,000 and pension contributions of €133,000.
Salaries across Anglo's 1,300 strong-work force averaged €97,000 last year, but the Anglo boss said they were "not comparable" with pay at other banks since Anglo no longer has a range of lower-paid roles, like branch staff.
"You can't manage a portfolio of €35bn loans for massive recovery without people, and they've got to be good people," Mr Aynsley said.
Anglo bosses also confirmed that the bank continues to hire staff because of the "high level of attrition" in some areas.
In a morning radio interview, Mr Aynsley also launched an attack on his former colleagues, saying the bank had "cleaned the scum off the top off the pond".