The new chief executive of EasyJet will take a pay cut to match the salary of his predecessor, Carolyn McCall, said the airline, in a bid to battle against the gender pay gap.
British companies are under heightened scrutiny over their pay structures; the BBC has faced criticism over why it pays some women less than men in equivalent jobs.
New EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren will reduce his salary from £740,000 (€842,410) to £706,000 to match the pay of Ms McCall, who became the chief executive of ITV at the start of this year.
The rest of his pay package will also be the same. In his last job at travel group TUI, Mr Lundgren was paid €875,000, according to the firm’s annual report, and he said EasyJet was committed to giving equal pay and opportunity to women and men.
“I want that to apply to everybody at EasyJet and to show my personal commitment I have asked the board to reduce my pay to match that of Carolyn’s when she was at EasyJet,” he said.
Mr Lundgren joined EasyJet in December.
Ms McCall is one of just six female CEOs among Britain’s 100 biggest companies.
A report last year by the High Pay Centre and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that male CEOs in the Ftse 100 earned an average of £2.1m more than women in 2016 — CEOs were more likely to be called David than be female.
The aviation industry has a particular issue with gender equality as a vast majority of pilots are men.
EasyJet said that, on average, male employees earned twice as much as women but that was driven by the fact that 94% of its pilots were men.
It said that pay rates are the same for men and women but pilots are paid more than other roles.
EasyJet said it was aiming to recruit more women as pilots, with a target that 20% of new pilots would be female by 2020.
Last week, EasyJet shares posted their best day’s gains since early October following a trading update.
It said a reduction in capacity by competitors was contributing to a positive trading environment and helping revenues.
Some analysts said, however, that overcapacity in European short-haul routes, along with pricing pressures, meant it will remain tough going for carriers.
Shares in EasyJet have climbed more than 80% in the past year. It is valued at £6.69bn (€7.6bn).
Rival Ryanair shares have risen 13% in the past year. It is valued at €19.6bn.
Reuters. Additional reporting by Irish Examiner