ING CEO's mega salary increase scrapped after storm of criticism

ING decided to withdraw a proposed salary increase for CEO Ralph Hamers due to mass criticism from society and politicians. "We realize that we underestimated the public response in the Netherlands to this clearly sensitive issue", chairman of the supervisory board Jeroen van der Veer said in a statement on Tuesday, ANP reports.

The bank's board of commissioners wanted to increase Hamers' remuneration to over 3 million euros a year in the form of shares on top of his fixed salary of 1.75 million euros. In order to prevent damage to the bank, it was decided not to put the proposal to a vote at the upcoming shareholders' meeting. 

On Monday Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance said that he wanted the salary increase off the table. "ING is not a cookie factory, but a financial institution. This undermines the confidence in banks as a whole and in ING in particular", he said.

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver was already preparing an emergency law to block the increase. His proposed legislative amendment will make salary increases for bank directors subject to approval from the Minister of Finance. 

On Monday banks Triodos and ASN reported a significant increase in the number of new account applications after Hamers' increase was announced.