The New Zealander was handed the shares as part of a signing-on deal when he was first hired from Commonwealth Bank of Australia to run the retail operations of the 81% taxpayer-owned institution in September 2012. He was promoted to chief executive last October after Stephen Hester quit and sold just under half of the 432,000 shares which were released to him to meet his tax liabilities.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, RBS also revealed that three members of the executive team assembled by McEwan had also received shares under previous share bonus schemes worth just over £1m. The three are Rory Cullinan, head of the new mini-bad bank inside RBS, Alison Rose, head of its commercial and private banking division, and Donald Workman, head of what is left of the investment bank. Their pay deals are being disclosed because they have been put in charge of new divisions created by McEwan.
Cullinan received the greatest number of shares of the three, worth just over £600,000. They are the first instalment of a bonus he received in March he is one of only a handful of top RBS managers to be handed bonuses for 2013.
In March Cullinan received £2.5m in shares, Rose just under £900,000 and Workman £460,000, which are to be paid out in instalments.
The latest set of shares being released to McEwan were part of a £3m signing-on deal under which he is still due to receive shares, with the final payment due next year. RBS said he would only receive shares to meet his tax liabilities.
The latest revelations about pay come as RBS prepares to hold its annual meeting later this month. It has already been forced to withdraw a plan to pay bonuses twice the size of salaries because of opposition from the Treasury. This means the bank will be restricted to paying bonuses of 100% of annual pay as imposed by the EU cap on bonuses.
Even so, McEwan will be handed £1m a year in "allowances" – effectively doubling his salary – in a reaction to the bonus cap.
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