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“Don’t cry for me Argentina,” says Ryanair boss as hopes of €100m shares dwindle

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RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary says he has been the “worst-paid CEO” in Europe’s aviation sector for the past two years and believes the cards are against his odds of a €100m share win from the airline in 2024 to reap.

I would like to point out that I have taken a £1m pay cut over the past two years due to Covid.

But he conceded that he “won’t starve.”

“But without a doubt I’ve been the lowest paid CEO in the airline sector in Europe for the last two or three years,” he added.

The airline boss currently owns shares in Ryanair worth almost 600 million euros. Since his appointment as CEO of the airline group in 1994, he has also earned hundreds of millions of euros from share sales and dividends.

“Don’t cry for me, Argentina,” he quipped to analysts’ laughter, referring to the 1976 song written by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice that would later appear in the hit musical Evita.

Mr O’Leary could see his wealth increase significantly as a result of a share agreement sealed in 2019 as part of his current five-year employment contract with the airline.

This year he was granted 10 million stock options at an exercise price of €11.12.

They will only vest if consolidated profit after tax in any fiscal year up to and including 2024 is 2 billion.

In the latter scenario, the stock options would be worth at least 210 million euros, while the pre-tax profit would be around 100 million euros.

Ryanair shares are currently trading at just over €13 a share. Last November, Mr O’Leary sold shares in the airline worth over 44 million euros.

“We don’t all have the target for my 10 million yet [share] incentives,” he added. “Am I confident that I will get there by 2024? No, but I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll hit one, if not both, of those targets.”

“There’s a reasonable fighting chance that we could get one or the other or both of these in a post-Covid recovery by 2024, but the window is closing,” he said.

He added, “If I don’t make it, then shareholders have benefited from my leadership at a greatly reduced price for the past three years.”

“I understand I will not starve, but nonetheless, the downside of these stock option programs is when the company is underperforming,” said Mr. O’Leary.

He emphasized that the achievement of the two targets of the stock program is much more important for the employees of the group than for him personally.

This morning Ryanair reported a loss of 355 million euros for the 12 months to the end of March. This contrasted with a loss of just over EUR 1 billion in the previous financial year.

https://www.independent.ie/business/dont-cry-for-me-argentina-says-ryanair-boss-as-hopes-of-100m-shares-windfall-fade-41654409.html “Don’t cry for me Argentina,” says Ryanair boss as hopes of €100m shares dwindle

Fry Electronics Team

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