Former CBA chairman David Turner (R) refused to return any of his fees when asked by the board.The Commonwealth Bank’s former chairman refused to return some of his hundreds of thousands in pay after a damning inquiry into ‘s biggest bank, his replacement says.
After years of only cutting executives’ million-dollar bonuses after scandals became public, CBA’s board itself took a 20 per cent cut in fees after APRA’s scathing prudential inquiry.
The board asked former chairman David Turner to return 40 per cent of the fees he earned in his final year at CBA, the banking royal commission heard on Wednesday.
Current chairwoman Catherine Livingstone said the board thought it would be appropriate.
“The board felt that it was appropriate as chair that he also effectively participate in the reduction that we had all taken for effectively what was described in the APRA report,” she said.
But Mr Turner did not agree to return any of his fees, she said.
“He communicated that, and I’m paraphrasing here because I obviously didn’t have the direct conversation, that he didn’t recognise in the APRA report the CBA board that he knew.”
The banking regulator in May was scathing of CBA for being complacent and blinded to threats in its business as profits rolled in, while also criticising inadequate oversight and challenge by the board.
Mr Turner retired at the end of 2016.
He was paid $437,521 for the six months of the 2017 financial year that he worked, compared to $874,521 for the previous year.
The royal commission heard that for years CBA failed to cut executives’ million-dollar bonuses despite a long list of scandals and problems.
CBA executives missed out on bonuses in 2016/17, on the back of AUSTRAC’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing case against the bank.
Ms Livingstone said some of the group executives immediately accepted the decision but others were upset.
“Some were angry and others felt that because it had affected the whole group, including people who hadn’t been there for very long, that it wasn’t fair.
“But the point of the board taking this view was to emphasise the importance of collective accountability.”
CBA, which paid a $700 million civil penalty to settle the AUSTRAC action, has made changes to its remuneration practices.