The former president of CatalunyaCaixa, Narcís Serra, has returned today to defend the two salary increases that were approved in 2010 in favor of the entity's general director, Adolf Todó. He has argued that these improvements came from a commitment made with Todó when his signing was decided at the end of 2007. Then, he explained, it was decided that his salary would rise gradually because when he was hired, it was considered that "the increase of blow [de su salario] It would be excessive "for the entity, and it has also argued that these conditions were known by the Bank of Spain and the Generalitat.
The former president of CatalunyaCaixa has assured that the salary corresponded to the median of the financial sector and below the average of the sector, although he admitted that it was high because "it was a very good management team that was transforming the box, and that has to be paid " It has even stated that maintaining the previous management would have generated losses "much higher" than those that cost the salary change of direction.
Serra, who has testified at the Audiencia of Barcelona in the second session of the trial that judges those salary increases, and for which he faces a four-year prison request, considers that the salary agreed with Todó was "prudent" and " adjusted to the contracts that were made at that time in the contracts of senior management ". The increases of 2010, he said, were argued to "keep his word" with Todó and to prevent him from leaving the savings bank when it had significant financial problems, received an injection of 1,250 million euros from the Frob and was immersed in a process of merging with other entities.
"It was important for senior management to continue," the former president of the savings bank explained, in reference to the fact that CatalunyaCaixa was in the process of merging with Caixa Tarragona and Caixa Manresa and when the rest of the workforce had a frozen salary.
Todó, who had entered the entity from Caixa Manresa with a base salary of 600,000 euros supplemented by an annual variable equivalent to 35% and other working and retirement conditions, saw how in two boards of directors his fixed salary was increased by 1 , 5% and variable remuneration happened to weigh 50% of the fixed. These improvements also benefited Jaume Masana, attached to Todó, who arrived at the entity on the same dates.
These improvements are the origin of the trial of 41 people who were part of the board of directors of Catalunya Caixa. All of them approved these new contractual conditions. Only one refused to do so.
Before the questions of the public prosecutor, Serra has defended that the salary of Todó was first that happened by the advice of administration of the box in all its history, underlining "the absolute transparency" of the measurement. Likewise, he has defended that this increase had the approval of the Generalitat (which had the capacity to inspect the boxes in Catalonia), the Diputación de Barcelona and the Bank of Spain. The prosecutor has indicated that in the investigation phase, inspectors of the central bank denied to know that improvement and, even, they indicated that "it bothered to them".
Change of course
Serra has argued that in 2006, before the beginning of the financial crisis in the United States, he had already decided to give a "change of direction" in CatalunyaCaixa. At that time, he said, an inspection of the Bank of Spain, as explained, made an inspection in which he pointed out the need to make provisions for only 12 million euros. "I went to Madrid," Serra explained, "to tell them that my impression was more pessimistic and I had to delay the change of course."
But Serra has stated that his continuity in the position was subject to the need to modify the policy of the savings bank. Even, he stressed, Adolf Todó, 30 days after taking office as CEO, and in 2008, made a diagnosis of the problems of the entity. From there, 3,200 million euros were demanded from Frob, of which 1,700 million were finally injected. "We were convinced that with that help the box had enough but nobody knew that the economic crisis of 2011 would be much more serious than that of 2008. And that crisis generated the final problem."