"I won't stay for 290,000 euros per year"

Johnny Thijs, the CEO of the Belgian post company Bpost, says that he is prepared to make an effort, but that he wants "a fair salary". 290,000 euros per year, as some government parties are suggesting, is below par. Mr Thijs also thinks that many employees will be leaving Bpost.

Several government parties, including the Flemish socialists (SP.A) and their Francophone colleagues (PS) have suggested putting a limit to the wages earned by CEOs of publicly-owned companies. A proposal that is on the table now is talking about 290,000 euros per year, but the discussion will have to be continued after the summer break.

Johnny Thijs has been at the helm of Bpost since 2002. His yearly salary is presently 1.1 million euros per year. "I am prepared to make an effort, but I won't continue doing the same work for 290,000 per year", Mr Thijs told the Francophone public broadcaster RTBF.

Two months ago, Bpost had its stock market flotation. Mr Thijs looks back on the past months, but also looks forward. He thinks that the introduction of new machines to sort the mail, is a process which is halfway. It should be finished by 2016 or 2017. This will affect employment rates.

Employment at the company will continue to drop, Mr Thijs warns. "50% of the employees are 45 years or older, and many are reaching their retirement age. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to continue the modernisation of Bpost and to step up productivity levels without having to make people redundant."