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Voluntary measure Construction boss takes massive bonus haircut

Anton Affentranger thinks his personal shares have risen enough in value

(Keystone)

The chief executive of Switzerland’s biggest construction company has voluntarily trimmed his bonus payments by nearly CHF1 million out of “respect” for the firm’s employees. Earlier this month, the boss of a major Swiss bank also announced a reduction in performance-related pay.

Building firm Implenia released its annual report on Thursday that showed CEO Anton Affentranger had waived rights to shares worth CHF300,000 last year and an extra CHF600,000 in 2014. In each year, he kept his CHF900,000 basic pay.

In an interview with the Basler Zeitung newspaper, Affentranger said he took the decision because the company’s share price had risen too high. He was awarded shares as part of his remuneration package when the price of each share was CHF19. The share price soared to above CHF70 last year before settling to just under CHF50 at present.

“At one point I judged that the profit margin [on received shares] was high enough. Frankly, it’s nice to have the freedom to do something like that,” he told the newspaper. He has been CEO of the company since October 2011.

Strong franc impacts

Implenia’s total wage bill for directors and executives shrank from CHF10.3 million in 2014 to CHF8.7 million last year.

On Wednesday, the company posted increased sales and orders for 2015, but a 29% decline in net profits – partly due to the strong franc. The Swiss construction industry, which has been booming in recent years, is predicted to tail off with supply outstripping demand.

Another company heavyweight to have taken a bonus haircut this month is Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam. The new CEO said he would take a “significant” cut to his bonus (rumoured to be up to 50% by some media) after the bank posted losses for 2015 and announced 4,000 job cuts.

“I cannot demand sacrifices from others and not make any myself,” he told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper on February 7.

Credit Suisse will publish its annual report, including details of remuneration, on March 24.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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