The Bank That Lost [Pounds Sterling]686m Gives Its Boss a 91per Cent Pay Rise

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Bank That Lost [Pounds Sterling]686m Gives Its Boss a 91per Cent Pay Rise


Byline: DARREN BEHAR

ABBEY'S chief executive was paid [pounds sterling]1.7million last year - almost double his predecessor's salary - even though the bank suffered massive losses.

Luqman Arnold was brought in to turn around the bank, which was formerly known as Abbey National, but oversaw losses of [pounds sterling]686million in 2003.

His salary dwarfs the [pounds sterling]883,000 paid to Ian Harley, the previous chief executive who was ousted in 2002.

The 91 per cent increase comes despite the fact that the Abbey was the only major High Street bank to make a loss.

Mr Arnold, 53, is married with a young son and lives in London.

Although he is a British citizen, Abbey is the first British company he has worked for. He was born in Calcutta where his father was in the Indian Civil Service. His mother is a Bengali who was educated in Dublin.

Last year, he oversaw a major revamp for the bank which dropped 'National' from its name in an effort to revive its flagging fortunes.

Out went the bank's umbrella logo and the slogan ' because life is complicated enough'. In their place, Abbey uses the banner 'turning banking on its head'.

Mr Arnold's 91 per cent rise highlights the staggering pay being given to Britain's top bankers.

Total salary, bonus and benefit packages paid to the bosses of the High Street's biggest banks are expected to exceed [pounds sterling]50million this year. Typically bank bosses are enjoying pay rises of between 15 and 20 per cent - up to five times the average rise in Britain.

Eddie Weatherill, of consumer group the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said: 'People have had enough. …

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