So you are a very successful operator and high-level executive in property company British Land. You previously held very senior positions within Credit Suisse, and similar high-profile work at Abbey National. You are extremely well-paid, and you have not blotted your copybook by making silly mistakes like so many of your compatriots. The Banking crisis, with huge banks about to default, happens, but you are not concerned because your job is unaffected.
But the Government pleads with you to take over the reins of the largest of the faltering banks, and so you negotiate a very good salary and bonus package to try and bring the bank with possibly the largest losses of any British bank back onto an even keel, so it can once more be privatised and sold hopefully at a profit to the taxpayer, who holds some 82% of RBS shares. Let us not forget that little sentence; that Mr. Hester entered into a Contract backed by the British Government (Labour, at that time) within which was agreed that he would be awarded a bonus determined by his actions.
Fast forward four years, with Stephen Hester half-way through his job of reorganising and downsizing the bank. He is doing a fair job, although the share price has tanked; but there again most banks are a bit ‘iffy’. The board of directors decides that Hester is doing a fair job, not brilliant, but moderate, and awards him a share bonus worth just under a million pounds.
Is it any wonder that we only get mediocrities in high public positions, because when we do get exceptional men appointed to high office; the media, all the politicians, and the unwashed mob commences baying for their blood!