Managers at listed companies obliged to reveal salaries

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In June 2000, the Dutch cabinet announced that it will introduce legislation to oblige companies listed on the stock exchange to reveal the salaries of individual managers.

On 21 June 2000, the Dutch cabinet announced that, with effect from 2002, managers in listed companies will be obliged to reveal exactly how much they earn. This announcement came the day after the annual spring deliberations between the cabinet, trade unions and employers. At present, companies are obliged only to reveal the total amount earned by the management board in their annual report. This obligation will remain effective, but will be tightened further for around 150 companies that are listed on the Dutch stock exchanges. Companies such as Philips, Aegon, Unilever and CMG already publish figures on the individual earnings of their managers. It is certainly no coincidence that these companies have "anglo-saxon" roots.

The trade unions in particular have been pushing for some time for more transparency regarding the earnings of individual managers. They are especially displeased with the contrast between the general call to maintain wage moderation and the rapidly increasing salaries awarded to managers (NL9908159N). Lavish share option schemes for managers have and will continue to be singled out for criticism by the trade union movement.

To date, employers have rallied behind the VNO-NCW employer's association in expressing their resistance towards having to reveal details of salaries awarded to individual managers. Their stance has now changed. According to the VNO-NCW chair, Jacques Schraven, increasing numbers of companies now compete internationally when it comes to luring managers, so it is only fitting to foster openness and transparency since these criteria apply internationally too. He believes that the top Dutch salaries will not turn out to be too high in an international perspective.

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