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Shareholder revolt

O’Leary poised for €99m bonus amid walk-outs and job cuts

Michael O’Leary: new contract

Ryanair’s shareholders rebelled against a pay deal for chief executive Michael O’Leary that could be worth €99m (£88m) over five years.

A wafer thin majority of 50.5% of investors voted for the Irish airline’s remuneration report.

The pay award comes at a time when the board is facing more strike action from pilots and is planning up to 700 job cuts.

Earlier this year, Mr O’Leary signed a new contract to stay on as chief executive until 2024. The company said that his remuneration is “considerably lower than many other European airline chief executives”.

Under his new deal, Mr O’Leary’s pay and the maximum annual bonus have both been cut in half to €500,000.

However, he will have an option to buy 10m shares at a fixed price of €11.12 a share if profit at Ryanair hits €2 billion in any year up to 2024, or if the share price tops €21 for at least 28 days between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2024. Under the latter scenario he would receive the maximum payout of €99m.

This has proved particularly controversial as comes after the company suffered one of its worst years. Hundreds of flights were axed due to industrial action and the business issued two profit warnings in four months.

Pilots are planning more strike action this month in a row over pay and conditions. The pilots’ union Balpa said its members want the same kind of agreements that exist in other airlines on pensions, loss of licence insurance, maternity benefits allowances and pay.

Following the vote, a spokesman said it would consult with its investors.

He said: “Ryanair is, and will continue, to consult with its shareholders and we will report back to them over the coming year on how the board will adapt its decision-making to reflect their advice and input on all these topics.”

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