Dutch vote against bonus for Air France-KLM chief, but most shareholders say yes

Air France.com via Wikimedia Commons
Air France.com via Wikimedia Commons

Air France-KLM chief executive Ben Smith will get a bonus of nearly €770,000 for his work during 2019, shareholders agreed by a large majority on Tuesday.

The Netherlands, which holds 14% of the shares in the airline, voted against the proposal. The bonus brings Smith’s total remuneration package for 2019 to €4m, the NRC reported.

‘As we have said repeatedly, we are in a crisis and a lot of taxpayers money is needed to help companies and employers to get through it,’ finance minister Wopke Hoekstra told business broadcaster RTLZ. ‘And this is not the time to give bonuses to managers of the companies that we have to support.’

Smith has turned down his short-term bonus for 2020 and accepted a 25% salary cut for as long as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Both the Netherlands and France have agreed to put money into their respective flag carriers, because of the collapse in air travel, with the Dutch agreeing a support package of €2bn to €4bn for KLM.

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