ING executive issues 'moral appeal' to give up bonuses

Dutch banking and insurance giant ING has issued a "moral appeal" to more than one thousand of its senior employees to give up their bonuses for 2008. Last year, the company distributed a total of 300 million euros in bonuses.


AFP - The head of the supervisory board at Dutch banking and insurance giant ING on Monday issued a "moral appeal" to senior employees to give up their 2008 bonuses after the firm received state aid.

"This is a moral appeal," Jan Hommen told the newspaper De Volkskrant. "We are asking 1,200 of our highest-level employees to do without their bonuses for 2008."

ING's estimated 40,000 employees received bonuses last year worth about 300 million euros (410 million dollars), Hommen said.

While it would be impossible to cancel all of them, group managers are prepared to give them up, he added.

He said ING would distribute no bonuses to workers this year, adding that "a new salary policy," which would offer bonuses "if ING's overall results are positive" would be drafted early in 2010.

Controversy erupted in the Netherlands after ING said it would offer its future finance director, Patrick Flynn, a package of 100,000 shares, with a potential value of 1.3 million euros.

Finance Minister Wouter Bos reacted angrily to the news, noting that ING had been the beneficiary of a 10-billion-euro capital injection from the government in November.

Bos is to consider blocking 2008 bonuses at financial institutions that received state aid if they surpass terms worked out in negotiations between companies and unions, a finance ministry spokesman said Monday.

ING shareholders on April 27 are to vote on the nomination of Flynn as finance director and Hommen as chairman of the board of directors.

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