Royal Bank of Scotland
Hampton rounded on the legacy of former chief executive Fred Goodwin, saying in a speech due to be delivered to shareholder meetings later on Friday that his takeover of Dutch rival ABN Amro had been the wrong deal at the wrong price.
Addressing widespread public anger over the pension of 703,000 pounds ($1 million) a year awarded to Goodwin, Hampton also said the bank was taking legal advice over the payout and that the contract of the new chief executive, Stephen Hester, ensured no more rewards for failure.
Some of the practices that were accepted at the height of a boom when the bank was recording 10 billion-pound profits, cannot be acceptable now if indeed they ever really were, Hampton said, pointing to sponsorship of Formula 1 motor racing and an order for a corporate jet that has now been canceled.
Small shareholders in RBS will later on Friday get an opportunity to publicly vent anger over the lender's near collapse last year and are expected to make the largely symbolic gesture of rejecting the bank's report on 2008 executive pay.
The British government, which became majority shareholder in RBS last October after resuscitating the bank with a 20 billion pound injection of taxpayer's money, has already said it will vote against RBS's 2008 remuneration report.
I do understand that many shareholders will wish to vote against or abstain on the advisory vote on the Remuneration Report to register their strong disapproval of the pension arrangements of our former chief executive, Hampton said.
Goodwin and RBS have been at the center of public anger over the near collapse of Britain's banking system and protesters targeted one of the bank's branches during the meeting of G20 heads of government in London this week.
WRONG PRICE, WRONG TIME, WRONG DEAL
Having already announced around 2,700 job cuts so far this year after RBS chalked up a record 24.1 billion pound loss in 2008, Hampton said it was too early to say how many more jobs would be lost.
We can only be honest and say that this will not be the end of the story and more are expected in the UK and internationally in the period ahead.
He also promised a return to paying dividends as soon as practicable and a comprehensive review of remuneration.
Our new chief executive has, at his own insistence, a clause in his contract ensuring that he will receive no reward if he leaves the company for reasons of his own failure, Hampton said.
Shareholder scrutiny and strong disapproval was understandable, he added, but said it was time to move on.
I believe we should bring an end to the public flogging, Hampton said. We have suffered a major financial hit and continued collateral damage from public criticism will compound the problem not resolve it.
Hampton declined to give a profit forecast for the bank in an interview with BBC radio, saying the world economy was too uncertain and that 2009 would be a tough year for most banks.
He said the bank had a clear and agreed roadmap to return to standalone strength in the next three to five years, however.
RBS's shares were up 13.1 percent at 31.9 pence at 0934 GMT and at their highest level since mid-January, leading the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> after underperforming other UK banking stocks in recent weeks.
But analysts and traders said the scale of the jump might be technical given that 1000 GMT on Monday is the deadline for taking up the option to apply for new shares following the government's last bailout.
It's the last day for taking up your options to buy at 31.75 pence per share. It's a technical reason rather than anything more suspicious, said Andy Stancliffe, a trader at Evolution Beeson Gregory.
Former chief executive Goodwin was widely lauded for his audacious takeover of bigger British rival NatWest in 2000.
But his final acquisition -- the 10 billion-pound purchase of parts of Dutch rival ABN Amro at the onset of the credit crunch -- has been seen as a giant step too far that brought the bank to its knees.
Hampton said the ABN Amro buy had been the wrong price, the wrong way to pay, at the wrong time and the wrong deal and that the bank believed that without the acquisition it would have made an operating profit last year.
I don't think there can be any doubt that the key decision that led RBS to its difficulties was the acquisition of ABN Amro, he added.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)