Top company managers earn more despite the crisis

Drop in earnings across Ibex 35-listed firms does not translate into salary cuts for executives

With over a quarter of the working population out of a job and struggling to make ends meet, the top management of companies in the blue-chip Ibex 35 index last year awarded themselves a healthy pay hike despite an overall drop in corporate earnings while public sector workers suffered wage cuts

According to the annual report on corporate governance released Wednesday by the National Securities Commission (CNMV), the average remuneration of the directors on the boards of the biggest 35 listed companies in Spain was up 4.4 percent at 522,000 euros from a year earlier. In the case of chairmen and chief executive officers, average wages climbed to 2.4 million euros from 2.2 million a year earlier. The average remuneration per board was up 5 percent at 7.5 million euros.

The CNMV attributed the hikes to an increase in the results-based component of the wage structure of two companies, which the supervisor did not name.

The combined earnings of companies in the Ibex 35 last year were down 34 percent at 33.696 billion euros as the economic crisis undermined their performance.

The CNMV noted that the total salaries paid out to Ibex 35 top management represented about 2.6 percent of their combined earnings, a ratio similar to that in 2010.

The number of top managers in Ibex 35 firms dropped by 35 to 482 last year.

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