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Chief executives in some of Europe's biggest banks saw huge gains in their pay packets in 2013, with a number of bosses seeing hikes in excess of 10 percent from the previous year, data compiled exclusively for CNBC reveals.
Of the European banks surveyed by data analysis firm Equilar, chief executives of French bank Credit Agricole and Swiss lender Credit Suisse saw the biggest spikes in their take home pay, as each saw gains of 43 percent and 28 percent respectively from 2012.
Credit Agricole CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet's pay rise to $2.8 million coincided with the bank swinging back into full-year profit for this first time in two years. However, his total compensation pales in comparison to that of Stuart Gulliver, CEO of London listed bank HSBC.
Gulliver took home more money in 2013 than any other chief reviewed by Equilar for CNBC, at $12.7 million, which includes base salary, a cash bonus, stock awards as well as other payments.
Gulliver was closely followed by Lloyds Banking Group chief António Horta-Osório, who got paid $12.5 million. Both Gulliver's and Horta-Osório's bonuses were significantly larger than their base salaries with both receiving $1.95 million and $1.65 compared to $2.86 million in bonuses respectively.
Of the 14 European banks surveyed by Equilar, average CEO pay in 2013 amounted to $8.7 million, up 16 percent from an average pay packet of $7.5 million a year earlier.
Credit Suisse boss Brady Dougan's total compensation last year amounted to $10.5 million, up from $8.3 million the previous year, which included a $4.5 million cash bonus. Fellow Swiss bank boss, Sergio Ermotti, of UBS was also handsomely compensated with a total pay package of $11.6 million.
In the last year, HSBC shares are down almost 14 percent, but over a five year period the stock has gained 27 percent. Lloyd's has seen gains of 40 percent in the last year as the government has sold the bulk of its stake in the bank.
Credit Agricole has enjoyed a 64 percent surge in its share price in the last year, while Credit Suisse shares are trading 10 percent higher compared to this time last year.
Bankers' bonuses and remuneration have long been a cause for controversy, intensifying since the financial crisis in 2008, particularly in the U.K. as heads of banks bailed out by the government have received hefty bonuses in recent years.
The European Union's decision to slash the size of bonuses paid to bankers, capping them to the amount received in fixed pay has sparked further debate, and earnings season this year showed how banks are finding ways around such caps with "allowance" payments.
Among other lenders surveyed by Equilar, Barclays, which faced something of a shareholder revolt on its pay policy at its AGM last week, paid their chief executive Antony Jenkins $9.4 million in total, Equilar data showed.
ING Group boss, Ralph Hamers took home the smallest pay from the banks surveyed, getting paid a total $1.3 million in 2013.