I was listening to the Today programme this morning with James Naughtie presenting and he was interviewing the chief executive of RBS Stephen Hester. No sooner did we get into the interview and Mr Hester was asked if his salary wasn’t enough. This really irritated me – I am sick of this media witch hunt against this guy that is trying to do his job.
Let’s get something straight – he wasn’t a banker before the banking crisis of 2008 which meant he wasn’t involved in any of the mistakes of the previous regime. He was taken on board to remove the entire RBS board and start again building the bank’s balance sheet back up and stop it from imploding and costing everybody (including me and you) a lot of money. Apparently, he is on track to do that and is already making a huge difference to the business which is acknowledged by everyone. Why then do we have to go on about his bonus and salary? What the hell has it got to do with us or more importantly the journalists? He is doing a good job at rebuilding one of the most failed public organisations in this country – the guy deserves a medal in my view. A bonus of £1million or £10million is completely fine with me if he brings the company back and gets the taxpayers money back from what we invested to save the company’s skin.
The journalist kept pushing on though “did he know what it was worth compared to a nurses salary?” and so he responded “I am not a politician – I am a business man here to do a commercial job”. Which is my point exactly, why do we keep asking him about his salary he didn’t pay himself it? It makes absolutely no sense at all.
Stephen Hester even waived his bonus because he felt it was the right thing to do. Personally I think we should give it to him anyway as this is all counter productive. What happens if some other organisation in the private sector sees what a fantastic job he is doing and offers him twice what he is being paid? He might look at that job and think it would be a lot less hassle too and he can get on with leading a business rather than answering totally pointless questions. If he did leave the share price would drop heavily and we would again lose money. The demand of a market dictates what someone is paid not us. I would rather pay him £2-5million a year for doing a good job than some footballer for kicking a ball around a pitch.
What do you think? Should we pay him what he is worth?