When other CEOs were cutting their pay at the start of the pandemic in order to share sacrifice, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker’s pay wasn’t cut. He takes all of his pay in stock and told employees that the stock is worth less and that was his pay cut (as though he isn’t the one responsible for share price, which lagged before the pandemic).
American Airlines laid off the most workers during the pandemic, and once federal bailout rules allow for it they’ve told employees to expect to be laid off again. The airline has the most debt. And Parker was just rewarded with a $7 million pay day.
February 16, 2021 Top 5 Stock Grants:
|Shares Granted||Value At Grant Date|
(Here’s Parker’s theory of how to value stock.)
My first thought was that the American Airlines board doesn’t know what it is doing – Parker chided their lack of airline experience in the fall – but he likely earned the money.
That’s because Parker uniquely realized he could get more money from taxpayers than from customers and spent ‘all his time’ lobbying for bailouts in DC last summer and fall. That yielded $3 billion of your money for his airline, while only spending $400 million of that ‘payroll support’ on workers they’d furloughed. A $7 million payday is cheap for $2.5 billion net in taxpayer cash.