Rages against managers’ wage growth: – Unacceptable

– It is unacceptable with so much higher salary growth for managers in state-owned companies than it is for other employees and especially government employees, says secretary of LO Stat, Finn Olav Haga.

The stock exchange has just presented LO’s man for the findings we have made after having dived deep into the state budget and extracted figures on executive salaries in wholly owned state-owned companies.

Wage party

The figures show that the salary party is by no means over for the top managers.

Oslo Børs has obtained the figures from almost 60 wholly owned state-owned companies, and the figures show us the following:

The top managers’ total salary, ie fixed salary plus bonus and other remuneration, has increased by 3.9 per cent.

If we peel away bonuses and other remuneration, the increase in pure fixed salary is 4.2 per cent. These are very nice numbers, if we compare with what Ola and Kari Nordmann got in salary increases the same year.

According to Statistics Norway, average wage income increased by 3.1 per cent.

The contrast makes Haga react strongly.

– It is a bad signal to send when so many have been laid off and have been in a demanding work situation through the pandemic, Haga says.

In the pandemic year 2020, the bonus the top managers took out is virtually unchanged from 2019.

In 2019, 7,601,000 were withdrawn, while in 2020, 70,000 more were withdrawn.

Earned more than Erna

This is a development Norway’s largest employee organization wants for life. Haga in LO points out that political signals have been given about moderation of executive pay, but that the call does not seem to have had an effect.

– For these figures show a significantly higher wage development than for other wage earners, says Haga.

Oslo Børs has collected the figures for all companies stated in the ministries’ budget papers, but the following four companies have been omitted from the calculation, as it was not possible to find good comparable figures in the reporting:

Innovation Norway, Investino, Mantena and Nye Veier AS.

For the remaining 55 companies, the total salary expenses are NOK 139.3 million, compared with NOK 134 million in 2019.

This gives an average salary of NOK 2.5 million in 2020.

In comparison, Erna Solberg earned NOK 1.7 million from her job as Prime Minister in 2020. 38 of the top executives earned more than her.

Asset manager at the top

The highest paid manager is the managing director of the state asset management company Argentum, Joachim Høegh-Krohn.

He is listed with a salary of 5,135,000 and in 2020 was paid a bonus of 2,476,000, as well as allowances of 11,000 kroner. This amounts to a total salary payment of just over NOK 7.6 million.

Well over four times as much as the Prime Minister earned.

BEST PAID: Joachim Høegh-Krohn, CEO of Argentum.  Photo: Erlend Aas / NTB

BEST PAID: Joachim Høegh-Krohn, CEO of Argentum. Photo: Erlend Aas / NTB
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Notch in the heel follows Statkraft’s CEO, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, who is listed with a total payment of just over seven million kroner.

Behind that number hides a salary of just over 5.6 million, 214,000 in other allowances and just over 1.1 million in bonuses.

WELL PAID: Statkraft's CEO, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen.  Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

WELL PAID: Statkraft’s CEO, Christian Rynning-Tønnesen. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB
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Another of the top state leaders earns more than five million kroner. This is Tone Wille, CEO of Posten Norge AS. She is listed with a salary of just over NOK 5.6 million. In addition, there are other allowances of 289,000, and she ends up with a total payment of just under six million.

HIGH SALARY: CEO Tone Wille of Norway Post.  Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

HIGH SALARY: CEO Tone Wille of Norway Post. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB
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Top ten list

The ten highest paid executives in wholly owned state-owned companies are (salaries including bonuses and other remuneration):

  • Joachim Høegh-Krohn, Argentum: NOK 7,622,000
  • Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, Statkraft: NOK 7,009,000
  • Tone Wille, Posten Norge AS: NOK 5,954,000
  • Geir Isaksen and Gro Brakstad, Vygruppen: NOK 4,963,000 *
  • Marianne Bergmann Røren, Mesta: NOK 4,118,600
  • Kjetil Houg, Folketrygdfondet: NOK 3,971,000
  • Grethe K. Moen and Kjell M. Lund, Petoro: NOK 3,868,000 *
  • Frode Leversund, Gassco AS: NOK 3,691,000
  • Auke Lont, Statnett: NOK 3,383,670
  • Thor Gjermund Eriksen, head of broadcasting: NOK 3,269,129

* Both Gro Brakstad and Kjell M. Lund took over the managerial position from their predecessors in September. The total salary is the outgoing boss earned until retirement, plus the incoming boss earned the rest of the year.

There is a large gap in the salaries of the companies, and the least paid was the boss of the UiO-owned company Unirand, where the annual salary was 116,758. The vast majority of top managers earn somewhere between one and three million kroner.

HIGH SALARY: Broadcasting manager Thor Gjermund Eriksen is among the highest paid top managers.  Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB

HIGH SALARY: Broadcasting manager Thor Gjermund Eriksen is among the highest paid top managers. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB
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Requires grip

Haga in LO Stat now expects the new government to work to ensure that the wage development for managers is more in line with what ordinary wage earners receive.

– These are state-owned companies, so it is the state with the responsible minister and ministry that appoints the board. They have the full opportunity to control and give signals. If they do not get through for the signals, then it is terribly passive politically, he states.

The various wholly owned state-owned companies are subject to different ministries, depending on where they naturally belong. In connection with the state budget, all ministries report on executive salaries in these state-owned companies. It is the ministries’ reporting of executive pay that forms the basis for the figures in this case.

Oslo Børs has contacted the three top managers who earn the most. None of them wanted to comment on the case.

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