19 Anglo staff earn over €175,000 each because of their 'insider knowledge'
Bank defends decision to retain managers from 'boom' era
Published 07/10/2011 | 05:00
ANGLO Irish Bank is keeping some of the senior executives who engaged in boom-time lending on salaries of €175,000 each because they have insider knowledge of the 'old' Anglo.
It emerged yesterday that 22 of the 50 most senior staff who were in charge when Anglo made disastrous lending decisions are still at the bank.
Nineteen of them are receiving salaries of more than €175,000 each. Sources stressed, however, that there were arguments for keeping the executives on board.
The long-serving managers have intimate knowledge of 'old' Anglo that can be helpful to the new management as it tries to work out 'legacy' issues and deal with difficult accounts.
Sources also pointed out that while some of the 22 held important titles in 'old' Anglo, they did not have significant control or autonomy in a bank that was dominated by a very small number of individuals.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dail yesterday that the Government would not stand over the "feather-bedding" of staff in any bank.
Referring to Anglo, he said: "There were 50 people at senior level -- 28 of them are gone. The Government is continuing with the programme to wind down that bank."
But the winding down could take up to 10 years -- although Anglo chairman Alan Dukes has said recently that he hopes to do this in three to four years.
Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Gilmore was allowing the senior executives to walk away with "runaway wages".
She added: "The Tanaiste is offering some lifestyle opportunity to officials and senior employees in a toxic bank that has brought us to the brink of ruin," she said.
The Irish Independent understands that none of the 22 have taken special pay cuts to reflect reduced roles, since this is not permitted by Irish law.
Like all Anglo staff, their bonuses have been eliminated.
The 22 left were last night described as coming overwhelmingly from the "lower layer" of the top 50 managers.
Anglo has brought in dozens of new senior executives since it was nationalised. Some of the 22 senior executives are eligible for its voluntary redundancy programme and it is expected that some will avail of it.
Last night, Anglo emphasised that none of the executives reporting directly to group chief executive Mike Aynsley had been in their old roles before the bank was nationalised in 2009.
It said the majority of the 22 remaining senior executives who were in Anglo during the boom years had different roles.
"The majority have different roles and responsibilities to those held pre-nationalisation, as the principal role of the bank has become that of an asset-recovery vehicle," it said.
A Department of Finance spokesman said it had told Anglo that it wanted the wind-down to happen as quickly as possible --with its US loan book currently up for sale and its British-Irish loan book being "worked through".
He said the bank's board was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the bank -- and confirmed that the department had not asked the bank to reduce the salaries of the 19 executives who are on €175,000 or more.