Adam Applegarth, the chief of Northern Rock, looks set to get as much as £380,000 when he leaves the embattled bank next year, in spite of claims that any payment would be an 'insult' to the millions who have suffered from the lender’s turmoil. Financial Times, The Times Daily Telegraph

The new board of Northern Rock is believed to have discussed payments for Applegarth, who announced last Friday that he would leave by the end of February.

Applegarth, who is being paid £760,000 in 2007, could receive a payment of least six months’ salary in line with his contract. However, the lump sum will include no bonus or pension top-up.

Northern Rock shares plunged yesterday 13% to 84.8p as the lender confirmed receipt of another rescue proposal – thought to be from JC Flowers – that was 'materially below'’ its market value on Tuesday.

Northern Rock’s new management faces the threat of litigation if it decides to press ahead with a deal that leaves shareholders little or nothing after Alistair Darling indicated that the Treasury will make the final decision on Northern Rock’s future now that £24bn of taxpayers’ money is tied up in the crippled bank.

Some shareholders have questioned whether Bryan Sanderson, who was parachuted in as chairman a month ago, is acting in their best interests by considering offers for the bank.

Philip Richards, chief executive of hedge fund RAB Capital that has a 6.7% stake, said that 'a firesale of assets at the worst moment in the credit market is exactly the same as Gordon Brown forcing a sale at the worst possible moment in the gold market — it’s crass'.