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Aer Lingus defend Mueller's pension

Friday, May 02 15:51:00

Aer Lingus today said that it will "carefully consider" shareholders' concerns on the chief executive's pay package amid talk that the Government will object to a pension top up for CEO Christoph Mueller.

Aer Lingus Chairman Colm Barrington said that, since Mr Mueller had joined Aer Lingus, he had built a new business model which had delivered four years of operating profits totalling E236m.

He added that Aer Lingus shares were up three times and shareholders were now receiving a substantial dividend since the CEO joined.

Mr Barrington said that Mr Mueller's pay was "well below" the average for Irish publicly-listed companies.

He said the "retention of the CEO was critical for development" of the airline.

Vote on pay at Aer Lingus is to be put to a poll of shareholders after the AGM concludes.

Results of the poll are expected later today.

Mr Barrington's comments come after the Government said it would vote against the remuneration report at the annual general meeting.

However, RTE News has also learned that Ryanair will now vote in favour of the pay package for Mr Mueller.

Ryanair director Howard Millar also asked for a poll on the resolution to re-elect David Begg to the board of Aer Lingus.

The State holds a 25pc stake in Aer Lingus and has expressed strong concerns to management about a 15pc increase to the contribution to Mr Mueller's pension fund.

That increase would bring the total payment to E175,000.