Saturday, 13 June 2009

Buddy, have you got dime?

As previously reported when Mr Walsh warned that BA was in a fight for survival, he felt it necessary to add that this time he really meant what he said. I believe that’s because the intended audience wasn’t the staff at all but the government which he wants to let him create an anti-passenger cartel with American Airlines.

It’s always wise to look behind the immediate message when Mr Walsh issues a press release. Remember the fanfare with which the CEO announced that he was foregoing his salary in July? Today it’s announced he’s not going to draw his bonus this year as well - that’ll be three years in a row.

But hold on. Three years ago he didn’t take a bonus because he’d also accepted full responsibility for the Terminal 5 fiasco which was reputed to have claimed the company £32 million. Last year the results were so bad he didn’t qualify for his bonus, so why make a fuss about this being the third year in a row?

In any case, what he didn’t tell you until the Annual Report came out was that he got a 6% pay increase last year which took his monthly salary cheque to a belt-tightening £61,916!

The really good news for Mr Walsh is that if he meets the targets (set by one W. Walsh, of course) in three years time he’ll qualify for a long term shares scheme which will pay him £1.1million in 2012.

So in that context giving up £61,000 in July (which will be worth something like £37,800 in his pocket) seems quite modest.

Hopefully he didn’t read this morning’s newspaper which reported that he and his cabin staff earn twice as much as their counterparts at Virgin - but maybe you can’t believe everything you read in the papers.

Pensioners, recently denied the Staff Travel perk they thought they’d earned by accepting modest salaries over the years, might ask whether an annual salary of £743,000.00 isn’t more than enough for a Chief Executive who says he can’t do anything to influence his most important market, the business traveller? Should we not be paying someone who can?

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