Stelios on course for row over EasyJet pay plans

Sir Stellios Haji-Ioannou is opposed to EasyJet pay plan. Picture: Getty
Sir Stellios Haji-Ioannou is opposed to EasyJet pay plan. Picture: Getty
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EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is expected to continue his opposition to the airline’s pay plans, after it revealed a 75 per cent jump in chief executive Caroline McCall’s pay package.

The budget carrier, which last month said its pre-tax profits had soared almost 51 per cent to £478 million in the year to the end of September, has had a number of run-ins with Stelios in the past year over its fleet expansion plans and the tenure of former chairman, Sir Mike Rake.

In its annual report, published yesterday, EasyJet said McCall, who took the controls in July 2010, would receive a total of £6.4m in pay and bonuses for 2013, up from £3.7m the previous year. Total boardroom pay will soar 74 per cent to £10.9m.

Charles Gurassa, the firm’s deputy chairman and chair of its remuneration committee, also said McCall’s basic salary will rise to £681,600 in 2014, from £665,000 this year.

He added: “Remuneration is heavily weighted towards variable pay, dependent on performance. This ensures that there is a clear link between the value created for shareholders and the amount paid to our directors.”

However, Stelios said the report was “yet another case of City insiders enriching themselves without taking any risk” and the entrepreneur, who along with his family controls about 37 per cent of the airline, is expected to vote against its pay policy at the next annual meeting.

At its most recent shareholder meeting, in February, 44.71 per cent of votes went against the remuneration report. The group recently got the green light to modernise its fleet after shareholders backed plans to order up to 235 aircraft, despite objections from Stelios.

EasyJet also revealed yesterday that its passenger numbers grew 3.4 per cent to almost 4.3 million last month, while the load factor, a measure of how full its planes were, dipped slightly to 89 per cent.

• Irish airline Aer Lingus said it carried 5 per cent fewer passengers in November as it came under pressure from price-cutting rivals such as Ryanair, which reported a 6 per cent increase in passengers to 5.2 million – a record for the month.