Big salary hikes put business chiefs on gravy train

MICHAEL BUCKLEY, the Corkman who heads AIB, saw a massive 48% rise in his pay packet in 2003 to almost €1.4 million, the bank’s annual report reveals.

Mr Buckley was paid a basic salary of €660,000 and a bonus of €570,000 compared with a total of €940,000 in 2002, when the trading fraud at the bank’s former US subsidiary, Allfirst, was uncovered.

The package makes Mr Buckley, who has been in charge of AIB for more three years one of the highest paid bosses in Ireland. The bank said in February that its profits had risen by just 3% in 2003, though, at €1 billion, it is the most profitable bank in Ireland.

AIB’s finance director Gary Kennedy received a similar increase in his remuneration, taking home €758,000 last year compared with €535,000 in 2002.

AIB Capital Markets boss Colm Doherty was paid €640,000 for the year, while Aidan McKeown, who heads the bank’s British operation was paid €540,000.

The new chairman, Dermot Gleeson, the former Attorney-General, was paid €217,000 in fees for his part-time role. Overall, the bank’s directors pocket €5.3 million in salaries and fees. Separately, the 17 directors of the building material giant CRH shared €6.6 million in pay and bonuses, according to the company’s annual report released yesterday. Although the figure is down on the €6.9 million earned by the board in 2002, several of the company’s top executives saw their salaries and bonuses rise.

Liam O’Mahony, CRH’s group chief executive saw his total pay package rise from €1.46 million to €1.63m. It consisted of a basic salary of €975,000, a performance bonus of €350,000 and pension contributions of €292,000.

The next highest paid director was the head of its US aggregates business Tom Hill. The 47-year-old American was paid just over €1m with his basic pay falling to €619,000 with the rest in benefits, bonus and pension contributions. Last year he was paid €978,000.

New finance director Myles Lee was paid just €59,000, though he only joined the board at the end of November, 2003. His predecessor Harry Sheridan, who retired at the same time was paid €679,000 down from €797,000 in 2002, though the drop is not comparable as he left the executive board before the year end.

European product and distribution division chief Brian Hill, was paid €875,000 against €822,000 the previous year. Pat Molloy was paid €300,000 for the year with €43,000 of this in fees and €257,000 for chairing the board.

Meanwhile, Intel Corp., the world’s largest semiconductor maker, said Chief Executive Craig Barrett’s bonus increased 41% last year and he received more than twice as many stock options.

Barrett got $610,000 in salary in 2003, the same as in 2002, the company said in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing. His bonus rose to $1.51m from $1.07m, and he got options to buy 1.35 million shares, up from 584,000.

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