Fat-Cat Nemesis Says Credit Suisse Pay Should Be Rejected

Credit Suisse Group AG’s shareholders should reject the bank’s pay proposals, Swiss remuneration crusader Thomas Minder said at the annual general meeting in Zurich on Friday.

“It cannot and must not be that bonuses are paid out after such a desolate business year,” said Minder, a member of the Swiss parliament.

Minder spent five years collecting signatures to force a nationwide vote on executive pay in Switzerland. His proposal -- that shareholders rather than company boards decide how much executives are paid -- was backed by 67.9 percent of voters in a March 2013 referendum.

Minder, also the owner of a herbal toothpaste maker, is joining the chorus of shareholder advisers such as Ethos and zRating that have urged Credit Suisse investors to reject the $36 million in bonuses the bank is proposing to pay top managers for 2015.

The bank is proposing that Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam receive a cash-and-stock award of 2.9 million francs ($3 million) after giving up 40 percent of his bonus. That’s on top of his base salary of 1.6 million francs for his first six months on the job. Credit Suisse reported a full-year loss of 2.9 billion francs after the fourth quarter produced a 5.8 billion-franc loss, its worst in seven years.

Thiam, attending his first annual meeting at the bank on Friday, pledged to continue his efforts to cut costs and steer the bank away from risky activities. The bank’s stock was down about 4 percent at 14.59 francs in Swiss trading as of 2:32 p.m., extending this year’s decline to about 33 percent.

Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner received 3.2 million francs for 2015, down 11 percent from 3.6 million francs the previous year.

(An earlier version of this story corrected the company name in the headline.)

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