Saturday 23 June 2018

O'Leary's quids in at Ryanair as pay jumps to €3.16m with shares boost

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary. Photo: Mark Condren
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary. Photo: Mark Condren
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary was paid a total of €3.16m last year, according to the airline's new annual report.

The figure - 26pc higher than in the previous financial year - included a base salary of just over €1m and an €855,000 bonus. He also received share-based payments of €1.25m. The base salary and bonus were almost unchanged on the previous financial year, but the share-based payments were significantly ahead of the €500,000 in such payments he received in the 2015 period.

Mr O'Leary - who has made a fortune from Ryanair through accumulated pay, share sales, and the receipt of special dividends that were also paid to other shareholders - owns just over 50m shares in the airline. They are currently worth about €584m.

"In keeping with the company's remuneration policy… the ceo's total remuneration is low by comparison with ceo pay of similar-sized EU airlines or other Irish plcs," noted the annual report.

"The company does not provide the cost with any pension contributions or other benefits which is in keeping with the low-cost ethos of the airline."

Senior executives at the airline - who include chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs, chief financial officer Neil Sorahan, and chief commercial officer David O'Brien - were paid a total of €10.3m during the last financial year, according to the annual report. That's up from €9m in 2015.

The senior executive team also includes chief technology officer John Hurley, chief operations officer Michael Hickey, and chief legal and regulatory officer Juliusz Komorek.

The total basic salary and bonus figure paid to the senior executive team actually fell last year to €7m from €7.2m.

However, the amount of share-based compensation almost doubled to €3.1m.

Earlier this year, Mr Jacobs confirmed to the Irish Independent that Ryanair executives - including senior and middle management - have agreed to a 12-month pay freeze as the airline tries to keep a lid on costs. The freeze doesn't extend to bonuses, however.

Ryanair generated record results for its financial year that ended in March, with profits jumping 43pc to €1.24bn, and revenue climbing 16pc to €6.53bn. It carried 106 million passengers in the financial year, 18pc up on the previous year.

Chairman David Bonderman again waived the €100,000 fee he's entitled to for his role, according to the annual report.

In an interview with the Irish Independent last year, Mr Bonderman said he has no intention to leaving his role at the airline, describing it as "too much fun".

Mr O'Leary - who has been chief executive of Ryanair since 1994 - signed up to a five-year contract at the airline in 2014. He was previously on a rolling, 12-month contract.

Under his employment contract, he cannot compete with Ryanair within the EU for a period of two years after he leaves the airline. Ryanair employed just under 11,000 people at the end of last March.

"Over the next eight years we plan to grow traffic to more than 180 million customers per annum and this will see us create another 7,000 jobs directly in Ryanair... by 2024," said Mr O'Leary in the annual report.

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