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Federal fat cats see bonuses fall  

There has been pressure to curb the earnings of top executives in Switzerland.

The salaries of top managers at Swiss government-affiliated companies shrank last year due to smaller bonuses, according to a federal report published on Friday.

Top state earner, Andreas Meyer, head of Swiss Federal Railways, saw his earnings fall below CHF1 million for the first time: down to CHF987,442 ($1 million) from CHF1,007,000 in 2017, the report foundexternal link.

Other top earners include PostFinance boss Hansruedi König, who earned CHF828,977 in wages and bonuses, RUAG defence company CEO Urs Breitmeier (CHF776,795) and accident insurance fund Suva CEO Felix Weber (CHF613,375).

Former Swiss Post boss Susanne Ruoff, who resigned in June 2018 over the PostBus subsidies scandal, was nevertheless entitled to a full-year salary of CHF620,000, compared with CHF610,000 in 2017. Her total bonuses of CHF453,280 have been suspended pending the outcome of the PostBus investigation.

Private sector CEO salaries are sometimes considerably higher. A report in 2018 found CEOs at companies like pharmaceutical group Roche and UBS bank earning more than CHF14 million.

Public debate over executive pay died down in Switzerland after politician Thomas Minder persuaded voters to overwhelmingly accept his initiative against “rip off” salaries in 2013. Now part of Swiss law, the initiative gives shareholders of listed firms binding votes on remuneration packages and outlaws various types of bonuses, such as ‘golden parachute’ severance agreements, or handcuffs.

Full story here
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