Ex-Aer Lingus chief could get €4.4m if IAG bid succeeds

Christoph Mueller owned 709,555 shares in December

Aer Lingus paid former chief executive Christoph Mueller a total of €1.24 million last year, 19 per cent less than the €1.5 million he received in 2013.  File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Aer Lingus paid former chief executive Christoph Mueller a total of €1.24 million last year, 19 per cent less than the €1.5 million he received in 2013. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Former Aer Lingus chief executive, Christoph Mueller, could cash in close to €4.4 million if the €1.36 billion bid to take over the airline succeeds.

Mr Mueller left the company in February and will join Malaysia Airlines as chief executive on May 1st.

Aer Lingus paid him a total of €1.24 million last year, 19 per cent less than the €1.5 million he received in 2013.

According to its just-published 2014 annual report, Mr Mueller owned 709,555 shares in the airline on December 31st, 2014, and had options to buy a further one million shares at a fraction of their actual price.

The combined shares and options would be worth a total of €4.359 million if the €2.55-a-share bid by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) for Aer Lingus goes ahead.

The 709,555 shares he already owns are worth €1.809 million at IAG’s offer price, while the one million options would fetch €2.55 million.

The annual report shows he has the option to buy 500,000 Aer Lingus shares at 57.3 cent each and 500,000 at 67.7 cent each.

Mr Mueller would earn a profit of €1.925 million if he were to purchase those at the option prices and sell them to IAG at €2.55 each.

Aer Lingus was due to award him a further 500,000 options last year, but did not do so as its share price did not reach an agreed target of €2.20.

Bonus scheme

However, in February 2014, the company gave him 200,400 shares under an executive bonus scheme, dubbed the long-term incentive plan.

Mr Mueller could be entitled to further shares in Aer Lingus under this plan, which covers the period from January 1st, 2011, to December 31st, 2016, although that is not guaranteed.

Aer Lingus confirmed he absented himself from all board discussions of IAG’s offer, as he stood to gain personally from the deal.

Recently appointed chief executive Stephen Kavanagh will be paid a salary of €450,000 a year with the potential to earn a bonus of €562,500 along with other benefits.

IAG’s bid for Aer Lingus is worth €1.36 billion in total.

The group is negotiating a sale of the State’s 25.1 per cent stake with the Government.

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