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British Airways owner IAG suffers revolt over Willie Walsh's pay

Alan Tovey
·2-min read
Willie Walsh
Willie Walsh

British Airways' owner IAG has been given a bloody nose by investors following fury over a £3.2m pay packet for departing boss Willie Walsh.

The firm was hit with a revolt by shareholders controlling 20.6pc of stock against Mr Walsh’s remuneration package, which includes an £833,000 annual bonus and a potential future £5.2m payout in shares. A further 7.8pc of shareholders withheld their votes at the firm's annual meeting.

It comes after BA put more than 22,500 staff on taxpayer-funded furlough and axed up to 12,000 jobs following a collapse in global air travel. 

Although IAG’s remuneration report was by around four-fifths of voting shareholders, the company said it was disappointed at the scale of the revolt. It added: “The board will continue to engage with shareholders to fully understand their concerns."

Willie Walsh
Willie Walsh

Mr Walsh’s pay was announced in March before coronavirus sent BA and sister airline Iberia into tailspins. Ahead of the meeting, influential shareholder advisory group ISS told investors to oppose the company’s remuneration report and said there was evidence of trouble ahead for the airlines.

Attempts to slash almost a quarter of BA's workforce have caused fury among unions who claim the pandemic is being used as cover to drive through cuts the airline has been wanting to make for years. 

Mr Walsh is handing over the controls at IAG after a 15-year stint with BA, including nine as the head of IAG, which was created following its merger with Iberia in 2011. 

Former pilot Mr Walsh delayed his planned departure by six months because of the pandemic. He is being succeeded by Iberia boss Luis Gallego.

Despite the anger over pay, investors overwhelmingly backed a £2.75bn fundraising to support the company’s battered balance sheet.