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Northern Rock chief to get £82,000-a-month to do nothing

Hoffman to enjoy six months' 'gardening leave'.

Chief executive of Northern Rock Gary Hoffman will pocket nearly £500,000 to do nothing after he quits the nationalised bank to join new start-up NBNK.

Hoffman will enjoy half a year's 'gardening leave' with taxpayers being forced to foot the bill.

Northern Rock revealed yesterday that Hoffman will continue to receive more than £80,000 a month after stepping down from the role.

The 50-year-old chief executive, who announced his departure yesterday with immediate effect, will be on gardening leave until next April when he will take up another highly well-paid job at NBNK Investments, a new banking start-up led by Lloyd's of London chairman Lord Levene.

A clause in his contract requires Northern Rock, which is 100 per cent owed by taxpayers, must still pay Mr Hoffman.

Unions expressed outrage over the arrangement and Brian Cole, Unite officer, said he was "disgusted" by the £500,000 payoff.

The "golden goodbye" has been condemned as an insult to the hard-pressed middle classes whose taxes bailed out the bank two years ago.

The award of £500,000 for Mr Hoffman to put his feet up represents a punch in the stomach for the 2,500 Northern Rock employees who have been sacked by Northern Rock during the last two years," Cole said.