“I understand the reaction of Quebeckers,” said chief executive Alain Bellemare.
“I heard, I’m listening, and it’s important for us because we have close links with Quebeckers and we want to preserve them.”
Payments will be delayed by one year to 2020 for six of the highest-paid executives. The deferred amounts will only be payable if Bombardier achieves its performance objectives.
Executive payouts at the company stoked public anger in its home province as the maker of planes and trains boosted 2016 compensation almost 50% after benefiting from state aid and announcing plans to eliminate more than 14,000 jobs.
Quebec last year invested $1bn (€938m) in Bombardier’s C Series jetliner programme, which entered service more than two years late and billions over budget.
Quebec premier Philippe Couillard took to Twitter on Sunday night to say he was “satisfied” with Bombardier’s decision to defer compensation. Opposition leader Jean-Francois Lisee called the move “scandalous” and asked for the bonuses to be cancelled.
Mr Bellemare said that he received a call from Mr Couillard about the compensation, “which encouraged me to go faster. We’ve learned a big lesson here,” the CEO said.
He had defended the compensation plan, saying the leadership team ushered its new C Series jetliner into service last year, won key orders for the plane from Delta Air Lines and Air Canada, supervised the first flight of the Global 7000 business jet and helped strengthen the company’s finances.
“About $16m in total compensation will be postponed until 2020, he told Ici Radio-Canada.
Some 60% of Bellemare’s 2016 compensation won’t be payable before 2020, “and that’s a lot”, the CEO said in a separate interview. His compensation is in line with that of other CEOs in the industry, he said.
“If we perform, not only will the executives benefit, but Quebec will benefit, our employees will benefit, and we’ll be capable of continuing to create jobs here,” Mr Bellemare said.
Details will be filed this week.
The payments deferral is “important for the workers and the population of Quebec,” Mr Couillard tweeted.