Golden Boys of Cyprus: Exec pay favours bankers

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Chief executives of leading public companies in Cyprus deservedly take home the highest earnings and by default are the biggest income tax contributors to the Internal Revenue Dept.

Although their salaries and bonuses may irk some of the militant union leaders, these CEOs are burdened with the responsibility for the success or failure of the largest companies that drive the Cyprus economy. After all, these companies are far better organised and more efficient than the unions.
The ‘Golden Boys’ of Cyprus are dominated by those in the banking sector with the household names in the industry, leisure and services sectors often justifying their six-figure pays.
The Financial Mirror survey of rewards, bonuses and dividends of leading executives, based on financial report filings and data from the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), also found that pay for senior management in public companies in 2010 was generally kept at the same level as in 2009, as against civil servants whose wages continued to soar year-on-year.

Andreas Eliades, CEO of the Bank of Cyprus Group, the island’s leading lender and often considered the backbone of the Cyprus economy, earns a cool 898,000 euros. In a gesture that is fitting of the current times, Eliades has given up a bonus of 208,000 euros that would have otherwise earned him a total of 1.106 mln. Considering that he is credited with the bank’s success in nearly two decades at the helm, pushing Group profits to more than 300 mln euros a year and generous dividend payouts to shareholders, Eliades’ earnings are a fraction of what he should claim.
The next-in-command in the bank is Yiannis Kypri, heading most domestic and overseas operations with earnings of 514,000 euros, who also gave up a bonus of 119,000. Completing the BOC ‘troika’ is Yiannis Pehlivanides who earns 334,000 euros.
Board members share 813,000 euros in directors’ remuneration, of which chairman Theodoros Aristodemou (and 1.8% shareholder) earns 171,000 euros, while vice chairman Andreas Artemi takes home 85,000.

One would have thought that the biggest earner at Marfin Laiki would be its executive chairman and major shareholder, Andreas Vgenopoulos. In fact, it is Group CEO Efthymios Bouloutas who, according to the 2010 annual report, earned 586,000 euros and paid a further 320,000 tax contribution. Chief earners among the executive team are Panayiotis Kounnis with 336,000 euros and Christos Stylianides with 334,000, while Eleftherios Hiliadakis took home 151,000 euros. Vgenopoulos earned 215,000 euros in dividend income.

As expected, the highest earner at Hellenic Bank was CEO Makis Keravnos at 283,283 euros, followed by Group General Manager Glafkos Mavros at 131,096. Group chairman Dr Andreas Panayiotou earned 44,045 euros and vice chairman Andreas Moushioutas a further 26,620.

USB changed hands and is nearly wholly-owned by BLC Bank of Lebanon. According to the latest filings, the highest earner was executive director Andreas Theodorides with 121,000 euros and executive team member Despo Polycarpou with 108,000.

The highest earner at Louis Plc, the CSE-listed member of the Louis Group, is its executive director Jason Perdios with 340,867 euros, followed by executive chairman Costakis Loizou (250,000 euros) and director Louis Loizou (145,231 euros).

Retail sector giant Christos Orphanides has expanded his company to a Group that operates 29 stores and other properties, earning him 445,000 euros a year.

The leading fuels reseller dominated by the Lefkaritis family saw its Petrolina and Agip retail stations, as well as aviation fuel sales benefiting from rising international prices. As a result, family head and Group chairman Kikis Lefkaritis earned 152,087 euros, while executive directors Costakis, Dinos and Akis took home 135,000 each. Christos Lefkaritis earned 45,621 euros.

One of the biggest commercial construction companies is Athienitis, currently involved in major projects at home and abroad, such as two malls in Lakatamia and Paphos. Brothers Panayiotis and Michalis Athienities, co-executive directors, earned 150,000 euros each.

The CSE-listed company that owns and operates the biggest chain of bakeries in Cyprus and is also involved in catering and other food services, is headed by executive director Tasos Zorbas who earned 176,353 euros, followed by executive chairman Costas Zorbas at 173,431 and Demetris Zorbas at 164,532 euros. Founder Andreas Zorbas earned 50,256 euros.

SFS executive chairman Christodoulos Ellinas earned 230,000 euros, while co-founder and executive vice chairman Philippos Larkos took home 220,000 euros. Among the other executive team members, Ioannis Pitsillos earned 205,000 euros, Costas Kirkos earned 180,000 euros and Loizos Loizou 80,000 euros.

The island’s biggest IT company is headed by CEO Varnavas Irinarchos who earned 158,900 euros, but executive director Aristodemos Anastassiades earned more – 223,175 euros of which 100,000 euros was an extraordinary bonus due to the performance of the Logicom subsidiaries for which he is responsible.

The oldest and biggest beer, drinks and winemaker underwent major restructuring in 2011, but in 2010 its executive chairman Costas Koutsos earned 152,000 eyuros, while Group CEIO Charalambos Panayiotou earned 54,000.

The owner operator of the biggest chain of 26 hotels in the Paphos and Famgusta areas rewarded executive director Andreas Tsokkos with 106,292 euros, while executive chairman Anastasia Tsokkou earned 90,921 and their son Yiorgos Tsokkos 47,077 euros.