RBS boss says: 'I want to be paid well as a businessman'

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Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) chief executive Stephen Hester
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) chief executive Stephen Hester spends the day with local south London businesses Photo: Reuters/David Moir

I'm having a rather unusual morning.

We're spending the day with Stephen Hester, the boss of RBS, not in the plush surroundings of the RBS offices in the City, with its inch-thick carpets, exotic flower arrangements and tasteful art on the walls, but in a crammed classroom in a South London school where he has joined the local MP, Chuka Umunna, where right now he is about to take questions from sixth formers.

One of the most striking things he has told them so far has been to tell them that what you do in life that would be valuable is 'not just measured by money'.

For a man who found himself at the centre of a storm over a million pound business he clearly does not want this audience at least to think he is just in it for the money.

But the first question to him from the head girl of the school was whether he rejected his bonus because it was immoral or because of the backlash.

His answer: "I am a businessman and part of that is saying that I want to be paid well, I don't think that is about morality."

But after the 'shock of the last two or three years is that the world is very disconnected. We are at a point of high emotion. People are looking for someone to blame but it was like a tsunami and I think it caught me unfairly.'

More to come.