Wednesday 16 January 2019

Ryanair says shareholders will back Bonderman at AGM

Chairman: US billionaire and TPG co-founder David Bonderman has led Ryanair since 1996
Chairman: US billionaire and TPG co-founder David Bonderman has led Ryanair since 1996

Donal O'Donovan and Ralph Riegel

The UK's Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), whose members advise £230bn (€260bn) of pension funds, has recommended they vote against both Ryanair's financial report and accounts, and the re-election of chairman David Bonderman next week.

It joined a growing chorus of shareholder advisors calling for major board changes at the carrier.

The LAPFF said it intends to attend next week's controversial Ryanair annual general meeting (AGM) from which media have been banned.

In response, Ryanair said its board and chairman will all be re-elected by next week.

In a statement, the LAPFF said its recommendations reflect "significant concerns about Ryanair's treatment of its workers and handling of recurring strikes by employees".

"These matters have highlighted long-running questions about the company's governance," LAPFF said.

The group said Ryanair chairman David Bonderman - first appointed in 1996 - had been in the role too long and there were "significant doubts" about his independence.

Ryanair, however insisted that all resolutions put to shareholders at next week's AGM will pass.

"Ryanair shareholders will pass all AGM resolutions by a large majority this year, including the nomination of directors and chairman, as they have done in all previous years. They appreciate how fortunate we are to have an outstanding chairman like David Bonderman to guide the board and the airline."

Meanwhile, Ryanair marketing director Kenny Jacobs insisted yesterday that the biggest threatened strike in its history likely won't take place on September 28 - saying he expects comprehensive agreements to be in place with all pilots and cabin crew over coming weeks.

The airline faces industrial action by cabin crew in five countries on September 28 in the latest bout of labour unrest within the airline.

However, Mr Jacobs insisted there was every chance strikes in Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands will not happen and that he expected comprehensive labour deals in all Ryanair markets by Christmas. "The risk of disruption will go away - we will do deals with the unions," he said.

Ryanair yesterday announced a team-up with the Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) in Cork to have 450 pilots trained by 2023, with 50 starting this year.

Irish Independent

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