Bank CEOs take a pay cut

Execs forgo pay, bonuses and other rewards

Top executives at some of Canada's biggest banks are taking pay cuts in the face of the falling stock prices and profits.

At RBC, CEO Gordon Nixon voluntarily turned down nearly $5 million in deferred shares and stock options. Before giving up these rewards, Nixon would have taken home $8.75 million in salary, bonus and equity-based rewards in 2008. This is down from $10.9 million in 2007.

RBC failed to meet most of its 2008 financial goals and its annual profits dropped by 17 per cent.

The Bank of Nova Scotia slashed CEO Rick Waugh's compensation package by 20 per cent from $10.1 million in 2007 to $7.5 million in 2008. His base salary remained the same at $1 million but his bonus was cut by nearly 70 per cent to $500,000, which he took in deferred stock units.

The bank's earnings per share fell by nearly one-quarter and revenue dropped by 5.6 per cent in 2008.

Bank of Montreal CEO William Downe received $6.38 million in total compensation in 2008, a 9.4-per-cent increase from 2007, but announced on Feb. 2 that he was giving up both mid-term and long-term compensation worth $4.1 million.

The three banks are facing a proposal that would give shareholders a vote on executive compensation and a separate resolution calling for a comprehensive review of executive pay.

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