Barclays boss rewarded with salary boost as annual pay doubled to £3.9m

MATTHEW BARRETT the Irishman who heads Britain’s Barclays bank is to see his annual pay package double to stg£3.9 million, it emerged yesterday.

Mr Barrett, who said he would never borrow by the bank's credit card because it was too expensive, will earn stg£3.1 million in pay and bonuses for 2003.

As a reward for leading the bank to profits of stg£3.84 billion last year, the Kells-born Mr Barrett will also pick up share options worth stg£831,000.

And according to its annual reports and accounts, Mr Barrett will also receive a stg£990,000 top-up to his pension fund.

The pay arrangements drew criticism from unions while the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) wanted evidence that the rises were sufficiently tied to performance targets.

NAPF joined a shareholder rebellion last year over the pay deal for the chief executive, which included a “golden parachute” clause which entitled him to twice his annual package in the event of a change of control.

A spokesman for Unifi, which represents workers at the bank, said: “Staff at Barclays will have difficulty reconciling their pay increase this year with that of Matthew Barrett.”

But a Barclays spokesman defended the pay package, pointing out that the 59-year-old chief executive had not received an increase in his basic pay of stg£1.1 million last year.

The hike in bonuses reflected improved performance at the bank and this was the basis for judging the pay of every member of staff, she said.

Share options were awarded to directors after the performance of Barclays was measured against 11 major rivals including HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank.

The spokesman said: “The past four years have been the most profitable in Barclays’ history.

“Since Matthew Barrett has been there, he’s transformed the bank from an underperformer into one of the best in the world in terms of shareholder value.”

Mr Barrett was criticised last year after telling the Treasury Select Committee he did not use a Barclaycard to borrow money because it was too expensive. Members of the select committee had pointed out that while interest rates had fallen by more than two thirds since 1992 to just 3.5%, interest charged on a Barclaycard had come down from 24.6% to 17.9%.

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