Commerzbank cuts pay of top managers in contrast with Deutsche

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Commerzbank’s chief executive officer took a 32 percent pay cut in 2018, according to the bank’s annual report on Wednesday, in sharp contrast to hefty pay increases for the top management at Deutsche Bank.

FILE PHOTO: Martin Zielke, CEO of Germany’s Commerzbank addresses the media during the bank’s annual news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

The disparity underscores a divide in the compensation culture of the two rival banks, which said last week that they were in talks to merge.

Total compensation for Martin Zielke was 1.97 million euros ($2.22 million), down from 2.88 million euros in 2017, while pay for Commerzbank’s management board declined 24 percent.

Zielke’s pay compared with 7 million euros for Deutsche Bank’s chief Christian Sewing.

Deutsche Bank’s management board received total pay, including bonuses, of 55.7 million euros in 2018, up from 29.8 million euros a year earlier.

Commerzbank, 15 percent owned by the government after a bailout a decade ago, focuses on individual retail customers and financing small-and-medium sized corporate clients. Deutsche Bank in contrast operates a sprawling global investment bank.

The decrease in management pay at Commerzbank comes despite the bank’s 2018 net profit rising to 865 million euros from 128 million a year earlier, although the bank scaled back revenue targets.

Commerzbank’s annual profit was also more than twice the 341 million euros earned by Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank declined to comment on the pay disparity.

Commerzbank’s bonus pool for the broader workforce declined 41 percent to 134 million euros from 229 million a year earlier.

Reporting by Tom Sims, Hans Seidenstuecker and Arno Schuetze; editing by Thomas Seythal and Kirsten Donovan

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