The chairman of the state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has waived a shares bonus worth £1.4 million (1.7 million euros, $2.2 million) amid a row over executive pay, the bank said Saturday.
The money was part of a 'golden hello' agreed when Philip Hampton joined in 2009, and he was due to receive it in February. But a source close to the matter told AFP that in the current climate "he deemed that it wasn't appropriate".
His decision comes amid a storm of criticism over Thursday's announcement that RBS chief executive Stephen Hester would receive a £963,000 bonus this year, on top of his annual salary of £1.2 million.
"Sir Philip Hampton will not receive the 5.17 million shares he was awarded in 2009 when he joined RBS," the bank said in a brief statement.
British taxpayers own 82 percent of RBS after it was bailed out at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, and since then it has slashed tens of thousands of jobs.
News that Hester will receive a huge bonus, despite government calls for pay restraint amid continuing economic gloom in Britain, sparked outrage from unions and the opposition Labour party.
The fact that the sum was less than half the £2 million Hester was given a year earlier failed to dent criticism.
Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday that Hester had been brought in under the former Labour government under terms they agreed, but said that ultimately was up to the RBS boss to decide whether to keep the bonus.
"It's obviously his decision," Cameron said.
"My decision is to make sure the team at RBS get on with the job of turning the bank round and we made our views very clear on the bonus, and that's why it was cut in half compared to last year."