Finance minister lashes out at “incomprehensible” bonus for Air France-KLM boss
Minister Sigrid Kaag of Finance called it "incomprehensible and inappropriate" that CEO Ben Smith of Air France-KLM was promised a millions of euros bonus while the company recorded a huge loss last year and needed State support to survive. Kaag said this in her weekly conversation with RTL Z.
Smith received a base salary of 900,000 euros last year and can also look forward to a multiple of that in variable remuneration. His total remuneration package amounts to about 4.3 million euros, according to the aviation group's annual report. Smith will have to wait for his bonuses until Air France-KLM is off the State life support.
Both France and the Netherlands gave Air France-KLM billions in loans to cope with the coronavirus crisis. Last year, the airline group suffered a loss of 3.3 billion euros. With those circumstances in mind, Kaag called it "not socially responsible" to award such high bonuses.
As a shareholder of Air France-KLM, the Netherlands has been speaking out for years against bonuses to the company's top. "Also in the last few days," said Kaag. The State will therefore vote against it at the shareholders' meeting. "But we are in the minority," Kaag said. She therefore assumes that Smith will get his bonus "at some point."
A spokesperson for KLM pointed out that the remuneration policy at KLM is arranged differently than at the parent company. That is also necessary, because the Dutch State set no bonuses as a condition when granting support for KLM in 2020. The KLM figures will soon be detailed in the airline's annual report.
Reporting by ANP