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Banking

Hester and Hansen: A game of two compensation packages

Today’s UK newspapers and online media outlets are full of news of a highly-paid employee of a large government-owned institution known by its three initials agreeing to take a cut in pay. <p> No, it’s not another banker at RBS: it’s BBC television football pundit Alan Hansen.

 

Today’s UK newspapers and online media outlets are full of news of a highly-paid employee of a large government-owned institution known by its three initials agreeing to take a cut in pay. No, it’s not another banker at RBS: it’s BBC television football pundit Alan Hansen.

According to various reports: the former Liverpool footballer has magnanimously accepted a 33% cut in pay for his appearances on weekly BBC highlights programme Match of the Day.

Hansen was apparently receiving around £1.5 million a year; he’s now going to have to make do with £1 million.

Hansen is a top TV pundit with the medals from his playing career to back up his opinions. But what does he do for the money? On any given highlights programme, he and his two co-presenters might discuss the action from up to 10 games for on average two minutes per match. If Hansen shares the punditry-load evenly, he’ll actually be talking (his job) for about 7 minutes per programme per week, in a 40-week season.

Now contrast that with the media hysteria, including on the BBC, about the compensation package for Stephen Hester, RBS’s chief executive. Much of it has focused on the fact that he works for an organization that, like the BBC, is owned by the taxpayer.  

Hester was paid a basic salary of £1.2 million for 2011, £300,000 less than Hansen’s reported earnings. For that, he manages a crisis-torn bank which some thought it would be impossible to keep afloat, and still employs more than 100,000 people around the world.

Maybe neither Hansen nor Hester deserve such rewards. But as the media witch-hunt against RBS shows no sign abating, let’s keep things in perspective.

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