Stewart continues RBS role for free

I have to admit that I saw this coming. Rare moments of clairvoyance does happen around F1B. When the RBS story broke about their reduced role in F1, I read with interest Sir Jackie Stewart’s comments which were effectively something like; ‘my contract has two years left and they always honor contracts’, as well as ‘I’m sorry people are losing jobs but I have a contract and I have done my bit’. I cringed when I read those and knew these were not going to be well received in light of the financial crisis the world is under.

Governments have bailed out large banks around the world. Now those governments, particularly those in the government that are not big fans of big business, are skewering the banks they lay claim to via taxpayer money used for the bail out. Fair enough, we could argue both sides of that deal all day long but let us get back to Sir Jackie. Sir Jackie’s comments, while true, were going to be met with a jaundiced eye given the current foaming-mouths over how companies, bailed out by taxpayer money, are being ran. RBS had extended a lucrative contract to Sir Jackie and while they understood the value and brand equity that sir Jackie produced, the average politician didn’t…or wasn’t going to admit they did given the current torch-wielding mob at the portcullis of RBS Castle.

Jackie had to move quickly to avoid being lumped in with Sir Goodwin and the management that the critics now felt are out of touch and misusing taxpayer funds…although it must be said that sir Jackie’s contract was signed and extended well before the government bailout. Nevertheless, sir Jackie had to avoid the damage this would do to his brand and has decided to acquiesce by agreeing to continue his duties under the contract without pay for the 2009. My hunch? He is willing to postpone his 2009 compensation until such time that RBS has regained its footing and will then expect backpayment for services rendered. All said; keep that tidbiot out of the public and everyone is happy now. Nice move.

“Sir Jackie has offered to fulfil his contractual obligations in 2009 without payment, which RBS is very pleased to accept,” it said.

“In recognition of the changed financial and economic circumstances facing RBS, Sir Jackie Stewart has been in discussion with the group over a period of weeks about the remaining terms of his contract.

“Sir Jackie wants to help the bank with its new strategic objective of rebuilding standalone strength by serving its customers well, in the UK and globally, in the next three years.”.

RBS head of communications Andrew McLaughlin praised Stewart’s decision.

“His commitment and loyalty at such a challenging time in the company’s long history is greatly appreciated by everyone at RBS,” he said.

Stewart said he had a performed a variety of duties for RBS including his roles at grands prix.

“I have a large number of global activities such as product launches and corporate hospitality,” he told the Times newspaper.

“It was a five-year contract, I think, and then it was extended. My contract finishes with the bank in 2011.

“Some years I go to five races, some years ten, it depends. They pay my expenses wherever I travel, which is sometimes commercial long-haul and sometimes in a private plane with other RBS people. If RBS already have a plane going somewhere, then I travel with them.”

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