Faced with a staff mutiny over cost-cutting measures, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced that CFO Bertrand Badré has agreed to give up the unpaid portion of an annual bonus worth almost $95,000.

Betrand Badré, CFO of the World Bank

Betrand Badré, CFO of the World Bank

Badré, who joined the bank from Société Générale in March 2013, was due to receive the bonus – rare among even senior staff at the World Bank – on top of a $379,000 annual salary and almost $300,000 in annual pension contributions and “other” benefits.

But after the bonus was disclosed last week in the bank’s annual report, it became, the Financial Times reports, “the latest flash point of broader staff anger” over Kim’s radical restructuring of the bank, which is aimed at cutting some $400 million from the budget by 2017 to allocate more funds for development projects.

A staff association e-mail obtained by Bloomberg questioned the bonus awarded Badré “given the sacrifices the rest of us are being asked to make.”

At a hastily called town hall meeting on Tuesday, Kim announced Badré would not be getting his bonus and faced a barrage of questions from staff who complained of sinking morale, increasing layers of management and a culture of penny pinching.

“This thing [restructuring] is affecting everything,” one staffer told Kim, according to the FT. “We can’t do business. We don’t have the budget. It’s a mess, the management.”

A World Bank spokesman said in a statement that staff unrest was “natural and understandable in any large organization undergoing such a large-scale realignment. We believe we will come out of this process as a stronger, more unified organization, better positioned to achieve our mission.”

Badré will keep a portion of the “scarce skills premium” he has already received, according to the bank. He will also keep a bonus of about $95,000 he received in two installments after being hired from Société Générale.

The BBC noted that Badré has been pushing for many of the cuts at the bank. “I am just as tired of the change process as all of you are,” Kim told staff members Tuesday. “And I would agree now that we have to bring it to an end.”

Photo: Bayard08, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

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