(Adds comment from company shareholder in last paragraph)
By Allison Lampert and Kevin Dougherty
MONTREAL/QUEBEC CITY, March 30 Bombardier Inc
should reflect on pay raises of up to 50 percent for
its senior executives in light of a public backlash over company
layoffs of thousands of employees, Quebec's economy minister
said on Thursday.
Total compensation for the Canadian plane and train maker's
top five executives and board chairman rose to $32.7 million in
2016, up from $21.9 million a year earlier, according to a proxy
circular published on Wednesday ahead of Bombardier's May 11
In 2016, Bombardier announced two rounds of layoffs totaling
14,500 people over two years at sites around the world.
Bombardier has said it will still hire for certain programs.
"If I was Bombardier, I would reflect on the message they
are getting from the public," Economy Minister Dominique Anglade
said in provincial parliament, as angry Quebecers took to social
media and popular talk shows on Thursday to denounce the raises.
In an email, Bombardier spokesman Simon Letendre said the
higher compensation reflects management's success in hitting the
company's 2016 targets. He said a large proportion of executive
remuneration is tied to performance or to share price
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pressed to comment
on the issue at a news conference in Brampton, Ontario, said,
“We respect the free market and choices companies will make, but
we also have a responsibility to ensure the investments we make
with taxpayers’ dollars are leading to good jobs and growth.” He
did not elaborate.
Bombardier's chief executive officer, Alain Bellemare, who
launched a five-year turnaround plan, earned almost $9.5 million
last year, up from $6.4 million in 2015.
Bombardier, which was forced to consider bankruptcy in 2015
after facing a cash crunch while developing two new planes,
received a $1 billion investment from Quebec that year in its
CSeries jets. In February, it got C$372.5 million in loans from
Canada's federal government.
"Bellemare did a good job last year,” said Michel Nadeau,
executive director of the Institute for Governance of Private
and Public Organizations. “But I think they should wait (for
raises) until the company is doing better."
Nadeau said the 36 percent raise secured by Bombardier's
executive chairman and former CEO, Pierre Beaudoin, to $5.2
million was out of line with Canadian industry norms. Beaudoin
is a member of Bombardier’s founding family that controls the
"I think the shareholders have the right to know why he is
being paid $5 million,” Nadeau said.
Canada's second largest pension fund, Caisse de depot et
placement du Quebec, has invested $1.5 billion for a 30 percent
stake in Bombardier's rail division. A Caisse spokesman said the
fund considers "the importance of a strong link between
performance and compensation" in all its investments, including
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Kevin Dougherty
in Quebec City; Additional reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing
by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)