Bpost responds to scrutiny over new CEO's wages

After pressure from Belgian politicians over transparency, postal company Bpost provided some explanation on Monday about the pay package for its new CEO, Chris Peeters. This includes a one-off "signing bonus" of 250,000 euros.

Bpost, which is 51 per cent owned by the Belgian state, announced last week the arrival of ​ Peeters, CEO of high-voltage operator Elia and former Trends magazine Manager of the Year.

There was a "big gap" between what Peeters was earning at Elia and the salary of the previous CEO, Dirk Tirez. "That is why we coordinated with the government and the minister [of Public Enterprises Petra De Sutter] about what was possible," said Bpost spokesperson Veerle Van Mierlo.

In concrete terms, the ' salary package consists of a base salary and a short-term bonus, like the previous CEO, the company explained. That basic salary of 585,000 euros is the same as the previous CEO, albeit indexed. The percentage of the short-term bonus is higher - 50 per cent of the base salary - but is dependent on achieving targets.

A new feature is a long-term bonus, which can only be paid out from the third year and depends on a series of financial, sustainability and good governance results. This can amount to a maximum of 50 per cent of the basic salary. According to Le Soir, the salary could amount to 1.2 million euros. "Theoretically, that is possible," the company said.

A one-off bonus has been awarded to compensate for Peeters's loss with his current employer, worth 250,000 euros.

According to Bpost, everything was done in consultation with the competent minister and the government. The remuneration still has to be approved by the general meeting.

Pressure from politicians

The discussion about Peeters' wage came after scrutiny from politicians when BPost and De Sutter did not want to discuss the remuneration.

MP Michael Freilich of Flemish nationalists N-VA asked for clarity about wages. “In public positions and at government companies, it is evident that there should be complete transparency about pay and employment conditions,” said the opposition member. “That is exactly the difference with a private company.”

Maria Vindevoghel of far left party PVDA also asked for more transparency and that De Sutter provide an explanation in the House. “The amounts now circulating in the press are far above the wage ceiling at public companies,” she said. “A new boss at Bpost apparently means a new bonus. When will the postmen, drivers, sorters and counter clerks at Bpost get a pay increase?"



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