Banking Inquiry: Former chief defends €2.4m boom-time salary

The chief executive of AIB when the recession hit has said his €2.4m total annual pay package during the era was peer-reviewed and he never asked for a pay rise.

Banking Inquiry: Former chief defends €2.4m boom-time salary

Now-retired Eugene Sheehy made the comments despite admitting the rate was “not justifiable, period”, and there was “no way you could tell anyone on the streets”.

He said he received €940,000, stressing it was “not a million” in 2006 and 2007, in addition to a €1.3m bonus.

He said four executives shared a €6m pot during the same years, but while the figures are “very high”, officials weren’t “banging on the door saying ‘I want more money’.”

He described his salary as “one of the lowest” among CEOs and rejected suggestions the rates were linked to loans. After confirming he took a “voluntary” cut to his €250,000 pension, he was asked if he would pay a contribution from his salary, responding “I pay my taxes”.

At a second hearing, current AIB chief David Duffy, who receives just over €400,000 and joined in 2011, said he was “surprised” the pay levels “were considered appropriate”.

He said a “deeply embedded culture” of the “lifestyle of working in a bank” was in place that saw bonuses, company cars, softer mortgage rules, attractive pensions, and other matters in contracts. While the bank has cut €250m from its total pay, he said “I don’t believe” moves to turn the focus of bankers towards customers “is complete and finished”.

The inquiry will this morning hear from former Bank of Ireland CEO Brian Goggin.

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