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RBS Chief Offers to Give up $1.5 Million Bonus

The head of the Royal Bank of Scotland waived his bonus after controversy.

Responding to public outcry and pressure from government officials over his bonus, worth USD$1.5 million, Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester announced Sunday night that he would be waiving the award.

Because the bank is 82 percent owned by the state and because many saw

Responding to public outcry and pressure from government officials over his bonus, worth USD$1.5 million, Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester announced Sunday night that he would be waiving the award.

Because the bank is 82 percent owned by the state and because many saw Hester's work at RBS as merely a fulfillment of his duties, critics said the bonus was unnecessary and excessive, The Guardian reports. After Hester's announcement, observers applauded the decision as "the right thing to do."

Yet others say the uproar was unmerited and would deter the most competent people from taking the difficult finance jobs and turning the industry around.

"I want to make sure we've got the brightest and best people on board to protect our bank," Mark Field, the Conservative MP for the City of London and Westminster, said in a BBC Today interview cited by the newspaper. "Who is going to want to take that job going forward?"

Writing for the Daily Mail, Mark Littlewood jumped to Hester's defense, arguing that the situation was detrimental to a "rational debate about reform of the banking system."