Saturday 24 February 2018

O'Leary defeats shareholder revolt over pay at Ryanair

This year Michael O'Leary was awarded 5m share options in Ryanair
This year Michael O'Leary was awarded 5m share options in Ryanair
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Ryanair shareholders have revolted against the airline director's pay, with almost one-in-five shareholder votes going against a motion on the remuneration package at the airline's AGM.

It's the biggest 'No' vote on pay seen at a major Irish listed company this year. Documents, filed with the Irish Stock Exchange, show 18.96pc - or almost one-in-five - of votes cast went against the package. However, institutional proxy votes pushed through the resolution.

This year, chief executive Michael O'Leary was awarded 5m share options in the airline with an exercise price of €8.35. The options can be exercised between September 2019 and November 2021.

The airline's shares are now trading around €13.40 - meaning the options are currently worth around €25m to O'Leary on paper. At the end of March, he owned over 51m shares - worth around €700m. The Ryanair share price hike has made O'Leary a billionaire.

He was also awarded a basic compensation package - including salary and bonus, pension contributions, and share-based compensation expense - of €2.4m.

That was an increase of a third on 2014.

Last October, O'Leary signed a new contract to lead the airline until 2019, replacing a rolling year-on-year arrangement, which had been in place since 1997.

Former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, Paypal's EMEA vice president, Louise Phelan, and ex-Department of Transport secretary general, Julie O'Neill - members of Ryanair's board - were each awarded 30,000 share options at an exercise price of €6.25 in 2015.

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