Blessing's Blessing

Commerzbank CEO Gets First Bonus

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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

    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

    Audio

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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.

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