Blessing's Blessing

Commerzbank CEO Gets First Bonus

Martin Blessing has a little more spending money, but what about the shareholders?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Mr. Blessing’s decision to accept a €1.5 million bonus is a sign of the bank’s improving prospects, but it’s upsetting to shareholders who are still not getting any dividends.

  • Facts


    • Commerzbank CEO Martin Blessing is the lowest-paid chief executive of Germany’s top 30 listed companies.
    • Most of Mr. Blessing’s bonus is tied to the bank’s share price and the attainment of long-term goals.
    • Commerzbank has been 17-percent owned by the German government, which bailed out the bank in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Commerzbank’s shareholders may once again have to forego a bonus this year, but not the bank’s boss.

Martin Blessing, the chief executive of Germany’s second-largest bank, will receive a  €1.5 million ($1.62 million) bonus for 2014, his first since taking over the bank in 2008, shortly before the outbreak of the global financial crisis.

You could call it a watershed moment for the bank, which has struggled to regain its footing ever since it was bailed out in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The bank remains 17-percent-owned by the German government, though it has paid back government loans that would have prevented Mr. Blessing from getting a bonus in past years.

According to the bank’s annual report, the 51-year-old chief executive was offered, and accepted, variable compensation for the first time in 2014.

It comes after the bank reported annual profits of €264 million for the 2014 fiscal year. Mr. Blessing had always stressed that he would only accept a bonus once Commerzbank’s earnings had returned to the triple-digit millions.

But some are questioning whether the higher profits in 2014 are real.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.