MONTREAL — Bombardier is defending its executive pay structure in the face of a public uproar over a hefty increase in compensation to senior management.
Jean Monty, the head of Bombardier's human resources and compensation committee, issued an open letter Saturday saying the company must compete with firms globally to recruit and retain talent.
Monty's letter also points out that 75 per cent of compensation for most senior Bombardier executives is based on meeting performance targets and is not guaranteed.
The company is facing public backlash after awarding a nearly 50 per cent pay increase to six top executives in 2016 over the previous year while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.
Compensation for the Montreal-based manufacturer's top five executives and board chairman Pierre Beaudoin was US$32.6 million in 2016, up from US$21.9 million the year before.
Monty's letter also said pay comparisons between 2016 and 2015 are misleading because some of the executives started with Bombardier only part way through 2015 — for example Alain Bellemare was appointed President and CEO in February, 2015.
In an effort to calm the waters, Beaudoin issued a statement late Friday night asking the board of directors to reduce his compensation for last year to 2015 levels.
He said public trust is important to Bombardier and he expressed concern the issue is a distraction from the work employees at Bombardier are doing.