(Adds Credit Suisse comment, detail)
ZURICH, April 4 (Reuters) - Proxy adviser Glass Lewis on Tuesday recommended Credit Suisse shareholders reject its proposal to pay 25.99 million Swiss francs ($25.9 million) in short-term bonuses to the executive board in a binding vote at the April 28 annual general meeting.
Executive pay is a hot-button issue in Switzerland, with voters backing a “fat cat” referendum in 2013 giving shareholders the option of blocking executive payouts, although such revolts remain rare.
In a report to clients, San Francisco-based Glass Lewis noted Credit Suisse’s consecutive full-year losses, adding “the short-term awards to be paid for the past fiscal year do not reflect these results and appear to be wholly inappropriate given the loss suffered by shareholders”.
In addition, Glass Lewis opposed the proposed compensation for Credit Suisse’s board of directors, also the subject of a binding shareholder vote.
Glass Lewis advised shareholders vote against the re-election to Credit Suisse’s board of directors of Iris Bohnet, Andreas Koopmann and Kaikhushru Nargolwala.
“We take note of the recommendations put forward,” a spokeswoman for Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, said in an emailed statement. “Credit Suisse respects shareholder democracy.”
Influential proxy adviser ISS has yet to issue its recommendations.
Of the executive board’s short-term bonus pool 4.17 million francs is for Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam, part of his overall pay packet of 11.9 million francs.
Thiam, a former insurance executive and Ivorian government minister, is reshaping Credit Suisse by boosting wealth management and scaling back investment banking. He has blamed the two annual losses on the problems he inherited.
Credit Suisse posted a near-3 billion franc loss in 2016 amid the restructuring and penalties for the sale of toxic mortgage debt in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Harris Associates, one of Credit Suisse’s biggest shareholders, plans to vote in favour of all the proposals at the AGM, Swiss Sunday newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported.
$1 = 1.0024 Swiss francs Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Michael Shields