Support from Ryanair helps nullify opposition to Aer Lingus CEO’s pay

Support from Ryanair helped nullify Government opposition to Aer Lingus’ CEO Christoph Müller’s pension enhancements.

Support from Ryanair helps nullify opposition to Aer Lingus CEO’s pay

Mr Müller had his €1.5m pay packet narrowly endorsed by shareholders yesterday.

However, Aer Lingus management said it will “carefully consider” shareholder concerns over what it pays its CEO when formalising future remuneration policy. Chairman Colm Barrington made the statement, after the company’s AGM in Dublin yesterday, which eventually saw Mr Müller’s pension contribution raise passed by a mere 50.03% to 49.97% majority.

In all, 211.1m passed the remuneration resolution with nearly 210.9m voting against.

Mr Müller’s total 2013 remuneration was €1.52m, up by nearly 18% on the previous year, and boosted by nearly €1m in bonus payments and pension contributions. The €70,000 rise — to €175,000 — in pension contribution came about via an increase in employer contribution to his pot, from 25% to 40% of his basic salary.

While much had been made in the build-up to yesterday’s meeting of the Government’s decision — as a 25% stakeholder — to vote against the remuneration motion; it was passed, following a poll taken after the main meeting. Though not a binding motion, ignoring a no vote would’ve been seen as a huge embarrassment for the airline.

Mr Barrington said that the company’s board needed to compensate in order to retain and incentivise management and pointed to the rebuilding job Mr Müller has led since taking over in 2009.

He said the board will “carefully consider” shareholder views and they will help inform policy going forward. But, he said that “the retention and motivation of the chief executive is critical to the next phase of Aer Lingus’ development”.

One investor claimed Aer Lingus’ board is “out of kilter” with the majority of the company’s shareholders.

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