David Duffy doesn’t let pesky investors dampen his L’Oréal moment

Former AIB chief faced off an investor revolt at Virgin Money to secure a 90% pay lift

David Duffy, chief executive of Virgin Money. Duffy pocketed £3.4m last year, a raise of  almost 90%

David Duffy, chief executive of Virgin Money. Duffy pocketed £3.4m last year, a raise of almost 90%

 

Irish bankers, acceptable targets in any election campaign, could only look on in envy as one that got away – namely former AIB boss David Duffy – faced off a mini revolt on Wednesday at a shareholder meeting against his £3.4 million (€4 million) remuneration last year.

Duffy left AIB in 2015 to become chief executive of CYBG, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, and merged the business last year with Virgin Money. This week 17 per cent of shareholders voted against the remuneration report of the group (now rebranded as Virgin Money) after posting a second straight annual loss.

The pay amounted to an almost 90 per cent jump on the previous year.

It brings Duffy’s total compensation since he abandoned the AIB job – where salaries are capped by the Government at €500,000 and bonuses are effectively banned – to £10.5 million.

A trading update on Tuesday was hardly inspiring, albeit in a difficult environment for the sector. The bank reduced its mortgage book in its financial first quarter by 0.8 per cent as it remained “disciplined in a competitive market”. Its net interest margin – the difference between the average rates at which it funds itself and lends on to customers – fell to 1.6 per cent from 1.72 per cent for the year-earlier period.

Meanwhile, Duffy’s L’Oréal moment continues. He stands to land a potential £5.1 million this year in salary and bonuses if all performance targets are met – leaving the leader of what remains a challenger bank among the best-paid chief executives in the industry in the UK.

Bosses of Irish bailed-out banks, meanwhile, know all too well that no new government is going to prioritise easing pay restrictions for the sector here.

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