Bombardier executives’ pay up $33m as over 1,000 laid off in Belfast

Canadian aerospace group got $1bn bailout from Quebec government last year

Six of Bombardier's top management team shared a massive hike in their pay packets totalling $32.6 million (€30.6 million) last year, as the Canadian group was laying off 1,080 people in Belfast.

Bombardier confirmed details of the 2016 compensation packages for its top executives – including that of chief executive Alain Bellemare, whose total package jumped to $9.5 million from $6.4 million a year earlier – in a management proxy circular ahead of its annual general meeting this year.

The aerospace group, which is in the middle of a five-year plan to cut global costs and 14,500 jobs worldwide, got a $1 billion bailout last year from the Quebec government for its C-Series aircraft programme, which had suffered delays and major budget overruns.

Just last month the Canadian government also confirmed that it will give Bombardier a repayable loan of $372.5 million over the next four years.


Bombardier stated in its latest proxy circular that its “approach to executive compensation” is to “maximise the overall performance of the corporation through the individual performance of its executives”.

“Bombardier’s executive compensation policy focuses on total compensation: base salary, short-term incentives, long-term incentives, pension, benefits and perquisites,” it stated.

Harsh criticism

But the group’s decision to increase the take-home salaries for its top executives, including the chairman of its board,

Pierre Beaudoin

, whose compensation package rose from $21.9 million to $32.6 million last year, while axing thousands of jobs and securing significant government financial support, has attracted harsh criticism in



Details of the executive pay deals emerged as Bombardier's Northern Ireland operations – registered as Short Brothers plc – published its annual report and financial statements for 2016.

In a foreword to the statements, directors of the company said while it had been an “extremely challenging year” for the Northern Ireland operations, it had “achieved profitability targets”.

The statements show an operating profit of $133 million in 2016, compared to a previous year loss of $280 million.

But turnover fell to $871.6 million from $919.6 million in 2015. The company reported a profit before tax of $76.3 million compared to a $339.2 million loss in fiscal 2015.

Directors confirmed that 1,080 jobs had been axed in Northern Ireland last year as part of Bombardier’s five-year global turnaround plan, which resulted in a restructuring charge for the year of $33.4 million.

The statements also highlight that the average number of employees during the year was 4,558.

“Our key focus over the short to medium term remains to deliver on major cost reduction initiatives for current sustaining programmes and programmes under development,” the report says. .

“We have a continuing plan in place which focuses on reduction of procurement costs, labour efficiency and the transfer of certain uncompetitive activities to sister sites in Mexico and Morocco and our supply base.”

The directors have not recommended the payment of a final dividend.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business