Commerzbank slashes employee bonuses

Commerzbank slashes employee bonuses
Photo: DPA
Commerzbank said on Friday it would slash employee bonuses for 2012 with chief executive Martin Blessing foregoing his altogether following the bank's "unsatisfactory" performance last year.

“As a consequence of the unsatisfactory net profit, variable remuneration as a whole for 2012 will be 17.2 percent lower than in the previous year,” Commerzbank said in a statement.

Bonuses were cut by around 20 percent in the investment banking division alone. The move – which affects all employees including the executive board – helped bring down personnel costs last year by 5.3 percent to €3.96 billion ($5.3 billion) and came after a similar bonus cut of 12.1 percent in 2011.

“We are following a clear principle: the greater the responsibility, the lower the variable remuneration by comparison,” Commerzbank said. Indeed, CEO Blessing had already informed the bank’s supervisory board in December that he would forego “all his claims from variable remuneration for 2012,” it added.

Germany’s second-biggest lender confirmed its disappointing 2012 results, already released earlier this month. Net profit came out at only €6 million for the whole year compared with €638 million a year previously, after heavy write downs pushed it into the red in the fourth quarter.

However, underlying earnings, as measured by operating profit, increased to €1.2 billion in 2012 from €507 million. Last month, Commerzbank said it would axe 4,000-6,000 jobs – more than one in 10 of its workforce – over the coming three years as it tots up the toll from the financial and sovereign debt crisis.

Commerzbank shares were the biggest gainers on the Frankfurt stock exchange on Friday, adding 3.32 percent in a steady market.


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