EasyJet criticised over pay report

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EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has slammed pay deals agreed for Andrew Harrison

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has kept up the pressure on the budget airline as he spoke out against a £2.5 million retention package for its former chief executive.

Sir Stelios, whose family is the carrier’s largest shareholder, slammed pay deals agreed for previous boss Andrew Harrison since May 2009, in particular a £1 million six-month fixed agreement.

EasyJet agreed to pay Mr Harrison £750,000, plus a £250,000 bonus between April 1 and September 30 while it sought a new boss. He left three months into the contract on June 30, after which he was available for advice until the end of September.

The airline’s annual report reveals Mr Harrison picked up £2.5 million in salary and bonuses during 2010, including the six-month fixed cash payment and £1.2 million under a “golden handcuff” retention deal agreed in May 2009.

Sir Stelios, who owns the rights to the ‘easy’ brand name, said he will vote against the remuneration report at easyJet’s upcoming annual meeting on February 17.

He claimed he was not consulted on Mr Harrison’s fixed-term package either as a director or shareholder, although he suggested he was aware of the deal at the time and was prevented from speaking publicly.

Sir Stelios said: “Now, roughly a year and a half later, after these payments have long since been made and I am no longer an insider, I have the right to voice my concern as a shareholder at the annual general meeting.”

He will also withhold his vote to re-elect interim chairman, Sir David Michels at the AGM in Luton.

Mr Harrison was retained amid a legal case surrounding a brand dispute with Sir Stelios, which was settled in October.

EasyJet declined to comment but its annual report reveals that Mr Harrison’s retention deal saw him give up his entitlement to a long-term incentive scheme pay-out of up to 192,325 shares and waive a potential bonus worth up to £590,000.

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