Rep. Nydia Velasquez to Citigroup CEO: ‘Lower Your Salary’ or Raise Employee Salary

By Melanie Arter | April 11, 2019 | 6:56 PM EDT

Rep.Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.) (Screenshot)

( - Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.) called on Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat on Wednesday to lower his multi-million salary or increase the salary of bank employees given that his pay outpaces theirs by a ratio of $486 for every $1 that his employees make.

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing titled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable,” Velasquez asked Corbat, “The Citigroup board awarded you more than $24 million in compensation for 2018. According to the bank’s 2019 proxy statement, the compensation for employees at Citi was $49,766.


“As a result, Citigroup has the dubious distinction of having the largest discrepancy between CEO compensation and median employee salary of any of the institutions present here today - a remarkable 486 to 1 ratio. Does this ratio seem fair to you?” she asked.



CORBAT: Congresswoman, I don’t think that’s fair to me to judge. I would say that I completely acknowledge that I’m very fortunate. I started at our firm---

VELASQUEZ: I’m just asking that if it seems fair to you, the ratio of the amount of money that you are making compared to the 49,000 employees is making.

CORBAT: My compensation is decided by our board and voted on by our shareholders--

VELASQUEZ: Okay, so I understand you don’t set your own salary. Few people do, but we do set salaries for the people who work underneath of us, so if you’re not happy with the pay ratio at your firm, there are two ways to correct it, because believe me, it doesn’t look good. Lower your salary or raise the salary of others. So let me ask you this question. If you were an employee, and you saw your boss making $486 dollars for every dollar you make, how would you feel about that situation?

CORBAT: I would be hopeful that there’s opportunity to continue to advance within the firm.

VELASQUEZ: Well, just unbelievable, and this is why people who live in a bubble or ivory towers cannot understand why there is so much anger out there, especially among students and millenials who graduate with student debt in one hand and a diploma in the other.



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