Economy, Business And Markets

4 Bank CEOs Fired Over High Pay

4 Bank CEOs Fired Over High Pay4 Bank CEOs Fired Over High Pay

The chief executives of four public banks have been sacked as part of a broad government campaign to crack down on undeserving astronomical salaries.  

Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia has replaced the heads of Mehr Iran, Mellat, Refah and Saderat banks on the instructions of President Hassan Rouhani, IRNA reported.

The scandal went viral two months ago when the inflated payslips of top officials at state-owned banks and companies surfaced online.

It emerged that many of the senior managers were earning dozens of times more than the average employee. They were also receiving unusually large bonuses, interest-free loans and, in some cases, tax breaks.

As part of the shake-up, Mohammad Ali Sahmani was appointed chief executive of Bank Refah, replacing Ali Sedghi. Sahmani was head of the Cooperative Development Bank of Iran during the past three years.

Ismail Lalegani, who had earlier resisted calls to step down, on Thursday tendered his resignation to Tayyebnia.

“I received no exorbitant wages during my short-lived tenure at Saderat… [but] in light of the prevailing atmosphere in the media and out of respect for to public opinion , I resign,” he wrote.

Siavash Zeraati, former adviser to the Management and Planning Organization, was appointed as the new head of the BSI.

Bank Mellat board of directors appointed Hadi Akhlaghi as the new boss, replacing him with Ali Rastegar, who resigned without any apparent scandal.   

Akhlaghi is an expert electronic banking and has been a board member of Bank Sepah.

Siamak Dolati, head of Mehr Iran Qarzol-Hasaneh (microcredit) Bank, was also fired on Thursday with Morteza Akbari, a board member at Export Development Bank of Iran filling his shoes at the relatively unknown lender.

President Rouhani’s decision to fire the four bank executives came a week after the Leader Ayatollah Seyyed  Ali Khamenei said “The issue of astronomical salaries is in fact an attack on [our national] values, but it is imperative that everyone know that they are among exceptions.”

“This issue must not be delayed. It should be seriously followed up and the people must be informed of the results,” he said in a meeting with the president and his close aides.

Rouhani also summoned the executive board of the National Development Fund of Iran to his office following the leak of their fat cat pay checks. As of late Friday no reports had emerged about hiring and firing at the sovereign wealth fund.