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Bank of Ireland's Boucher paid €623,000 despite State salary cap

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THE Government's efforts to control compensation at bailed-out banks came under fire again last night after it emerged that Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher was awarded pay and other benefits of almost €900,000 again last year.

The figure is starkly above the €500,000 pay cap the Government wanted to impose on rescued banks -- once pensions and other payments are taken into account Mr Boucher's basic salary came in at €690,000. He waived €67,000 of that and ultimately took home a salary of €623,000.

BoI's annual report released last night also shows the bank's non-executive Governor Pat Molloy was awarded €394,000 for his services -- almost €120,000 more than the full-time Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland.

Sources last night stressed that Mr Boucher had made an agreement with the Department of Finance in April 2009 that entitled him to a salary of €690,000, of which he would waive €67,000.

Mr Boucher also got €174,000 in pension contributions last year plus €34,000 in "other remuneration". The €831,000 package is far above the €500,000 salary plus €175,000 pension the Government recently sanctioned for AIB's new boss David Duffy.

But Mr Boucher's remuneration is less than the €974,000 notched up in 2010 by Mike Aynsley who runs Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo). He enjoyed a €500,000 salary plus €133,000 pension and €341,000 in benefits (including special allowances to cover his relocation from Australia and commuting expenses).

It is understood that the department, which owns 15pc of BoI, has no ongoing role in reviewing or approving Mr Boucher's salary. Yesterday's annual report says the BoI chief has extended the "voluntary waiver" of €67,000 until the end of 2012.

BoI last night declined to comment on its chief executive's salary, beyond saying that it was unchanged since 2010.

Mr Boucher was repeatedly grilled on his package at an Oireachtas Finance Committee hearing last September. His responses ranged from "I cannot discuss my salary; it is set out in the annual report of the bank" to "I am not going to comment on my own salary".

When it was raised for the final time by Fine Gael's Jim Daly, Mr Boucher replied: "That is not something on which I can comment. I am sorry."

Mr Molloy was awarded a basic salary of €394,000 last year and got no other payments.

A spokeswoman for the bank last night said that while Mr Molloy was a non-executive director he is "required to be available at all times as required and to give the role priority".

News of the BoI payments comes weeks after the bank announced underlying losses narrowed from €3.5bn to €1.5bn last year, after it booked lower losses on bad loans.

The bank has got billions in state support and still uses the government guarantee scheme, but now counts the State as just a 15pc shareholder after North American investors stumped up more than €1.1bn for an interest last summer.

Deputy Governor Patrick O'Sullivan was paid €104,000, while the remuneration of other non-executive directors ranged from €110,000 (Rose Hynes) to €2,000 for two non-executive directors who were appointed on December 23.

Waive

All of BoI's executive directors agreed to waive at least 10pc of their salaries last year -- the report does not set out whether that waiver will be continued into 2012. Former chief finance officer John O'Donovan, who retired at the end of December, was awarded €735,000, including a salary of €550,000. He waived €55,000.

Former UK chief executive Des Crowley was awarded for €312,000 for services until his retirement from the board on June 15, and waived €33,000. Denis Donovan, who also stepped down on June 15, was awarded €428,000 and waived €30,000.

Both men are still executives at BoI.

Irish Independent