Shares triple Aer Lingus chief pay

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller received pay and shares worth €1,569,000 in 2011 — more than three times his basic pay of €475,000.

And he gets an extra €7,965 a year for being a non-executive director of Tourism Ireland.

Yesterday, the Aer Lingus annual report disclosed that Mr Mueller’s annual pay package jumped from €1.132m in 2010 to €1.244m last year.

However, on Sep 1, 2011, Mr Mueller also received a grant of 500,000 shares in the company worth €325,000. On the day he sold 180,000 of these shares to raise €78,000.

“Mr Mueller had an immediate tax liability in respect of the vesting, equivalent to 48% of the market value of the shares on September 1, 2011. In order to partially fund this immediate tax liability, 120,000 of the shares were sold immediately upon the vesting of the shares and the balance of the shares [ie 380,000] were transferred to Mr Mueller,” Aer Lingus said.

The report added: “While Mr Mueller’s basic salary is subject to annual review, he has voluntarily agreed to permanently freeze it at €475,000 per annum.”

Aer Lingus chief financial officer Andrew Macfarlane’s total pay package came to €1,055,000, up from €209,000 in the prior year when he was only employed for part of the year. Mr Macfarlane’s basic pay of €330,000 was less than the annual performance related bonus of €366,000 portion of his remuneration.

Colm Barrington, AerLingus chairman, was paid €126,000 the same as in 2010. During the year, Mr Barrington increased his shareholding from 150,000 to 200,000.

The results showed revenue up by 6%, to €1.29bn and pre-tax profits up by over 210% at €84.4m. The 6.4% fall in operating profits — from €52.5m to €49.1m — was attributed to higher fuel and airport costs.

In the annual report Mr Mueller said their expectation for 2012 is that Aer Lingus will remain significantly profitable albeit below 2011 levels.

“We expect that Aer Lingus’ key markets will remain very competitive in 2012. We will keep capacity deployment broadly flat in 2012 although there will continue to be scheduling and frequency adjustments to the network in accordance with our demand-led planning strategy,” he said.


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