Former AIB boss David Duffy pay rises 84% to £3.4m as head of Virgin Money

CEO’s pay more than eight times his AIB salary – despite losses at UK’s Virgin Money

Former AIB chief executive David Duffy earned just under £3.4 million (€4 million) as the boss of UK lender Virgin Money, more than eight times the salary he received at AIB.

Virgin Money’s latest annual report showed Mr Duffy’s pay rose by 84 per cent in 2019 despite the bank posting a second consecutive annual loss.

His remuneration included a basic salary of £1.2 million combined with various allowances, bonuses and pension entitlements amounting to £2.2 million.

In his final full year with AIB, which is nearly twice the size of Virgin Money, he earned €489,000, including a basic salary of €425,000.


At the time, he was subject to the €500,000 salary cap imposed by the government at banks bailed out by the State post the 2008 financial crash. Under the rules, he was also not eligible for a bonus or share options.

After exiting AIB in 2015, Mr Duffy joined Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank (CYBG), which rebranded after buying Virgin Money last year.

Mr Duffy's pay rise in 2019 was driven by a bonus of £1.3 million linked to the 2015 demerger of CYBG from National Australia Bank. His pension entitlements were significantly larger than the chief executives of bigger UK banks Lloyds , RBS and Barclays.

The influential shareholder advisory group, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), came out against Virgin Money's executive pay proposals ahead of its annual meeting in January, which saw a third of shareholders oppose the payout.

AIB exit

Mr Duffy left AIB just as the government began the process of selling-off shares in the bank. As chief executive, he oversaw a major cost-cutting drive that reduced AIB’s branch network, cut the workforce by almost 20 per cent, and lowered average pay by 15 per cent.

AIB chairman Richard Pym has repeatedly clashed with Government over the pay restrictions for bailed-out banks, which he has linked to the exits of Mr Duffy and his successor Bernard Byrne last year.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has signalled he is in no rush to change the rules around bankers' pay. In 2008, prior to the crash, the chief executives of the then six main Irish financial institutions took home €10 million in total.

Virgin Money reported a lower-than-expected profit this week and suspended its dividend, as it was forced to set aside more money to settle a payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal in Britain. The group is ranked as the UK’s sixth-biggest lender.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times