12/23/2011 01:38 EST | Updated 02/22/2012 05:12 EST

Half million dollar salary for new BC Ferries boss

BC Ferries' new CEO Mike Corrigan will receive generous benefits in addition to more than half a million dollars a year in total compensation — far less than what his predecessor earned, but still more than the average senior public sector salary.

Following widespread outcry last year over former CEO David Hahn's million-dollar compensation package, B.C. introduced stricter rules for public sector executive salaries.

The law now says the BC Ferries CEO should make no more than other public sector employees performing similar services. It also places a severance limit of 18 months' salary for dismissal without cause.

But, as BC Ferries is not a crown corporation and operates at arm's length from government, different laws apply.

Corrigan will be entitled to 24 months' worth of salary in compensation if he is terminated without cause.

He will also receive an annual salary of $364,000 plus benefits and performance pay that could bring his total annual compensation up to $563,000.

Corrigan's benefits include a vehicle allowance of $1,200 a month, plus fuel and insurance.

BC Ferries chair Donald Hayes said taxpayers are getting good value for the money spent on the new CEO.

"This is a highly complex business with revenue around the $700-million mark and it takes a skilled executive," Hayes said.

"I think we are very fortunate to have someone of Mr. Corrigan's calibre within this compensation limit."

Corrigan's contract as CEO extends until 2017, and then he is to remain a consultant to BC Ferries for one year before retiring.

The details of Corrigan's contract with the ferry corporation were obtained by CBC News following a request filed under B.C.'s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.