31 January 2012

Executive Bonus Charity Challenge


RBS executives recently decided to award themselves gobs of bonus cash. Or it was always in their contracts. Or whatever. However, as they've:
  • recently laid off tonnes of employees
  • are 83% owned by UK taxpayers
  • have seen share prices dropping like rented plates at a Greek wedding
the plan to award themselves big bonuses caused major public outrage. Especially considering that the average chief executive earns 40 times more than the average employee.

So RBS chief exec  Stephen Hester waived his bonus cheque. But having dithered too long now Hester doesn't get the money nor does he get any credit for forgoing it. And who knows where that forgone bonus cash goes?

I have a plan to solve the whole sticky situation. It's simple and incredibly getbehindable, so why don't you get behind: the Executive Bonus Charity Challenge?

BACKGROUND When beautiful and hyper-rich celebrities (or even plain-looking regular-rich ones) go on game shows they always play for charity. That way no matter who ends up winning, everybody wins. Or at the very least, the RSPCA, or Save the Children (or some other worthy cause) gets a novelty-sized cheque. Oh, and the celebrity not only gets to continue collecting absurdly gross-sized paycheques (in number of zeroes, not just size) - they also get major plaudits for being magnanimous and civic-minded. Unfortunately, banking execs make misery instead of light entertainment, so the stakes for Executive Bonus Charity Challenge would be slightly different.

THE PROPOSAL I suggest executives (let's start with the top three tiers of management) continue to receive their bonuses (which, let's be honest, they will probably continue to do anyway), and then risk them on Executive Bonus Charity Challenge in a series of head-to-head contests. Including feats of:
  • Mild athleticism. Like walking up a few flights of stairs or doing a handful of star jumps.
  • Mental agility. Like identifying oil-rich countries on a world map, or naming all the chambers of a human heart.
  • Creativity. Draw a tree. Audience votes for the one they deem 'most tree-ish'. Or a karaoke battle. That kind of thing.
  • Business. Each contestant has to explain the causes and response to the financial meltdown to a co-contestant: a six-year old child. The exec with the last co-contestant to start playing Nintendo DS is the winner.
And so on.

The point is: whoever wins gets to donate their bonus to a worthy cause of their choice. The loser gets to keep their bonus. The winner leaves the studio in a limo, to rapturous applause.

Then loser gets their bonus handed to them, in cash. Then they kill the lights in the studio and invite him to try to leave through the audience.

Job creation, (potential) bonus retention, wealth distribution, goodwill bridge-building for the vilified bankers and vigilante justice. It's time we gave the Executive Bonus Charity Challenge a try.

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