MADRID – While citizens have to dig deeper into their increasingly empty pockets for almost everything, the directors and top executives of the companies that keep increasing their bills are collecting record bonuses and salaries.
The presidents and CEOs of the four major electricity and gas companies listed on Spain’s Ibex35 stock exchange together pocketed more than €80 million in salaries, pensions and other benefits in a year of record profits. The salaries of top executives are in most cases already above inflation and even doubling, while their companies’ trade policies make access to essential services such as energy and credit much more expensive for their customers.
The rise in interest rates is causing the financial suffocation of the millions of households that have mortgages with variable-rate loans. They see how their monthly payments double in a year. They must then mobilise their savings to alleviate this blow. Meanwhile, high energy prices, in whose rise the use of fossil fuels plays a key role, put further pressure on household budgets. Many families are forced to adjust their eating and mobility habits because of the difficulties of making ends meet in a wage moderation scenario that further reduces their purchasing power.
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The €83.87 million is in addition to the salaries and bonuses paid to the 18 presidents and CEOs of these ten companies. This is evident from information that the companies themselves have released to the National Stock Exchange Commission CNMV. This amount corresponds to the average salary of 3,439 Spanish employees, which, according to the statistics office INE, amounts to €2,032.05 gross per month.
Spain’s highest-paid president
El Público writes that Spain’s highest-paid executive is Iberdrola’s president, José Ignacio Sánchez-Galán. He received income and shares worth €13.06 million, with a slight decrease of 1.1% compared to the remuneration of the previous year, but with an increase of 1.2% in the salary part.
His remuneration is six times that of the managing director who succeeds him in the electricity company. That is CEO Armando Martínez who received €2.125 million. Directly behind Sánchez Galán are Ana Patricia Botín, executive president of Banco Santander, who received a fee of €11.735 million and José Luis Álvarez, CEO of Santander with €9.575 million.
This is followed by the President and CEO of BBVA, Carlos Torres and Onur Genç with revenues and contributions of €7.58 million and €6.61 million, respectively. Then comes the CEO of Naturgy, Francisco Reynés, who closes the list with 5,785 of half a dozen executives with an annual gross remuneration of more than €5 million.
Rise higher than CPI
The remuneration of most of the top executives of these ten financial and energy companies grew last year in proportions higher than the cost of living, with Unicaja CEO Manuel Menéndez at the extreme in relative terms seeing his remuneration rise by 142 .17%. This puts him in last place in the ranking. Only the president of Endesa, Juan Sánchez-Calero, is below him with compensation of €673,000.
Senior executives gross salaries are between nine and 196 times higher than the average salaries of their companies’ employees.
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