| MONTREAL, April 10
MONTREAL, April 10 Bombardier Inc's
controlling family has discussed governance and board succession
in the wake of an executive pay uproar, with some family members
wanting new blood for its representatives on the board, the
grandson of the company founder told Reuters in an interview.
The plane and train maker set off protests, most recently
near Bombardier's Montreal headquarters on Sunday, after the
board raised 2016 salaries of five executives and its chairman
by up to 50 percent just weeks after it received a federal loan.
The company later agreed to defer part of the raises to 2020.
Charles Bombardier, grandson of founder Joseph-Armand
Bombardier who died in 1964, said the executive pay decision has
moved to the forefront talk of who should represent the family
on the board. His father, J.R. Andre Bombardier, sits on the
current board of directors.
Charles Bombardier spoke to Reuters by telephone from
Montreal on Friday.
The family, which controls Bombardier through a dual voting
structure, now has five of the 15 board seats, including one for
former chief executive Laurent Beaudoin who is chairman
emeritus. Pierre Beaudoin, also a grandson of the founder, is
the executive chairman.
"I think the third generation will play a more active role
on the board since they are in their prime working years,"
Charles Bombardier said in his first media interview following
the pay uproar.
Charles Bombardier, 43, an industrial designer and an
investor in startup companies left a company spinoff, Bombardier
Recreational Products, in 2006 and does not currently hold any
executive position in Bombardier or have a board seat. But his
comments offer a rare insight into the thinking of the
Bombardier-Beaudoin family, whose members maintain a low
Bombardier, which considered bankruptcy protection in 2015,
has been in the midst of a five-year turnaround. The company
scored a major boost for its flagship CSeries jet in 2016 with
the signing of key sales contracts and the plane's smooth entry
into service after years running over-budget and behind
"The family took great risk by investing in this (CSeries)
aircraft program and now it's a technical success," Charles
Bombardier said. "This was a family decision and in the years to
come, you will see it was an excellent one."
He reiterated the family would never modify the dual-class
share structure that gives them voting control, partly because
it protects Bombardier from becoming a takeover target.
"The key is keeping control of the company and passing it on
to the next generation while making sure that shareholder value
is generated along the way," he said.
A Bombardier spokesman declined to comment.
In the past, the family's vision for the company has
conflicted at times with external chief executives. One CEO left
after two years at the helm.
Current CEO Alain Bellemare, who took the reins of
Bombardier in 2015 and replaced Pierre Beaudoin, has the support
of family members, Charles Bombardier said.
Charles Bombardier said Beaudoin deserved a higher salary in
2015 because he was assisting Bellemare in the transition to
"The role of the chairman needs to be separated from the CEO
and one year to make the transition is enough in my opinion," he
said, adding the executive chairman's role should now focus on
leading the board and Beaudoin's salary should be benchmarked to
In an email statement sent on Sunday, Beaudoin said he is
"happy to have the continuing support of my entire family," and
reiterated family support for company management.
(Editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)