CBA chief Matt Comyn just walked away from $2.2 million in potential bonuses

CEO Matt Comyn and Catherine Livingstone, the Chair of CBA. Image: Supplied

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn has advised the company’s board that he will forego his short-term bonus this year.

The announcement follows this morning’s release of a damning inquiry into CBA’s culture and practices by the banking regulator APRA, in the wake of multiple scandals at the bank.

Comyn’s base salary since taking the top job is reported to be $2.2 million — less than the $2.6 million that previous CEO Ian Narev took home.

Before foregoing his bonus, Comyn was eligible for short-term bonuses of up to $2.2 million more if all his performance targets were met.

Comyn is still eligible to earn long-term bonuses of up to $4 million, in the form of share-based payments which would vest after 2018.

In an interview published by the bank this morning, Comyn said his decision forms part a renewed push for accountability among the banks’ senior ranks in response to the APRA inquiry.

“There has to be clear consequences for failure to exercise and fulfil those accountabilities,” Comyn said.

Comyn said he discussed his decision with the CBA board in March, “based on a lot of the feedback I was already hearing from customers, some of whom had come up to me in the street to share some of their anger and frustration about what they were seeing in an organisation that they had known, banked with, and in some cases long term shareholders”.

“I formed a view then it would just be inappropriate given those circumstances to accept a short term incentive.”

CBA’s 2017 annual report shows that Comyn — along with the entire executive team — also forfeited his short term bonus for the year ended 30 June 2017, as the bank’s leadership group faced intense scrutiny stemming from a money laundering scandal.

In the previous year ended 30 June 2016, Narev was paid a short-term cash bonus of $1.431 million in addition to his salary (including superannuation) of $2.65 million.

Since taking the role of CEO, Comyn’s base salary has more than doubled from what he was paid in his previous role as CBA’s head of retail banking.

This table shows remuneration paid to CBA’s executive team last year, with a noticeable gap in the column for short-term cash incentives:

Source: CBA Annual Report

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