British politicians are damaging the reputation of the City of London financial district by vilifying RBS chief Stephen Hester, the president of the Confederation of British Industry said Tuesday.
Roger Carr, the head of Britain's top business lobbying organisation, wrote in The Times newspaper that lawmakers were encouraging unfair hostility towards business.
The CBI chief said that if business was to thrive in Britain, politicians and the public needed to respect what it does.
Hester, the chief executive of Britain's state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland, bowed to intense political pressure and waived his annual bonus of shares worth £963,000 ($1.5 million, 1.15 million euro), that was awarded last week on top of his £1.2-million salary.
The huge bonus -- amid government calls for pay restraint, ongoing austerity and economic gloom -- sparked outrage among trade unions and the opposition Labour Party because RBS is 82-percent state-owned following a huge bailout.
The government welcomed Hester's decision to spurn the payment, which was proving a major embarrassment for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition that has pledged to crack down on excessive boardroom pay.
"In pursuit of headlines, politicians have rediscovered old terms of abuse -- boardroom cronies, fat cattery, asset strippers," Carr wrote.
"Big business is increasingly viewed as bad business, run by the greedy few at the expense of the many.
"Little distinction has been made between those who created the problem at RBS and those recruited to resolve it.
"Political pressure forced the surrender of a bonus that an independent board had deemed was deserved."
He said the row over Hester's bonus had ignored the fact that "a talented man with many opportunities for personal enrichment" had chosen to accept a job that "few were capable of doing and even fewer had the appetite to undertake"
"The chances of enticing others to take on difficult tasks of national importance have undoubtedly been jeopardised. Not by the remuneration he didn't receive but for the vilification he did," Carr wrote.
"If corporate Britain is to thrive and attract the most talented people in our society, politicians must make it clear that business is valued and respected for the standards it sets as well as the wealth it creates."