City A.M. Reporter
THOMAS Minder’s campaign against executive pay packets began almost exactly five years ago at a UBS shareholder meeting in the sleepy Swiss town of Basel. Until then Minder was best known for his family’s traditional herbal toothpaste, Trybol, but he was flung into the spotlight when he attacked then-UBS chairman Marcel Ospel over the subprime writedowns that had forced the bank to seek a government bailout. Though Ospel stepped down weeks later, Minder’s campaign really began in earnest later that summer, when he collected 100,000 signatures and called for a referendum to impose executive pay restrictions – including forcing all listed companies to have binding votes on compensation for company managers and directors, and banning golden handshakes and parachutes. If passed on 2 March, the new rules would make the Swiss system one of the strictest in the world on pay – a dramatic departure for a country better known for its secret bank accounts and populated by some of the richest individuals in the world.