Air France-KLM CEO may get a bonus, despite crisis; Netherlands flabbergasted
Despite the coronavirus crisis and its horrific affects on air travel, Air France-KLM wants to adjust its bonus conditions for CEO Ben Smith so that he still has a chance of getting a bonus on top of his salary at the end of the year. KLM and Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra are flabbergasted, NOS reports.
Under the current conditions, Smith can get an annual bonus of over 100 percent of his 900 thousand euros annual salary, depending on his performance and the performance of Air France-KLM that year. Due to the massive blow dealt to the airline combination by the coronavirus this year, the chance of Smith getting a bonus seemed small. But the top of the company is now proposing to adjust the conditions for Smith's bonus, according to the broadcaster. Under the new conditions, the bonus depends on how much cash the airline has at the end of the year.
This year, the amount of cash Air France-KLM will have at the end of the year largely depends on the rescue plan the Dutch and French governments are currently working on. The more government support Air France-KLM receives, the higher Smith's bonus will be, according to NOS.
"We are baffled by this proposal," Dario Fucci of KLM's Central Works Council said to the broadcaster. "We've just had a turbulent weekend regarding the adjustment to our management. This proposal shows little sensitivity given the stage we are currently in."
Finance Minister Hoekstra is against the plan. "We do not consider bonuses sensible at this time of crisis and compatible with taxpayer support. We will make that clear to the company, including at the shareholders' meeting," he said. The Dutch government is currently working on imposing extra conditions on companies that receive support, including that they should not pay bonuses.