Ryanair shareholders lash out at Michael O’Leary pay plans

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has been given a bloody nose by investors after just half agreed to back the company’s pay plans.

At the airline’s annual shareholder meeting in County Meath, Ireland, on Thursday, just 50.5% supported the bonus plans which could see the founder pocket 99 million euros (£87.5 million).

A Ryanair spokesman 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.”

A number of directors on the company board, including US billionaire David Bonderman, were also targeted by a significant portion of shareholders who voted against their re-election.

Many had questioned their independence, due to close ties to Mr O’Leary, however all resolutions passed at the company’s annual general meeting.

Advisory groups had recommended shareholders vote against the remuneration report, with Institutional Shareholder Services saying the plans for handing Mr O’Leary 10 million shares if certain targets are met had no “compelling justification”.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary was given a bloody nose
Investors were unimpressed at the huge bonus Michael O’Leary could receive (Jonathan Brady/PA)

It added there is “scope for better disclosure on annual bonus targets and outcomes appear slightly mis-aligned with wider company performance”.

Mr O’Leary is entitled to the share award if net income at Ryanair hits two billion euros in any year up to 2024, or the share price goes higher than 21 euros for at least 28 days between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2024.

The setback for Ryanair comes as pilots stage a second straight day of strikes at the airline.

Further 24-hour strikes are planned for September 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29.

Ryanair had attempted to stop the strikes with High Court action, but judges ruled the walkouts are legal.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) announced the walkouts after its members voted in favour of the action in early August.

The union said 72% of its members at the company had voted in the ballot, with 80% of those supporting industrial action.

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