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Qantas CEO Joyce's pay falls 83% because of coronavirus pandemic

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The total pay for Qantas Airways Ltd Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce fell by 83% in the financial year ending June 30 because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the airline said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, speaks in front of a Qantas 747 jumbo jet, before its last departure from the Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, as Qantas retires its remaining Boeing 747 planes early due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, July 22, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File photo

This pushes Joyce from the ranks of Australia’s highest-paid bosses.

Joyce’s total pay was A$1.7 million ($1.24 million) in the financial year, down from A$9.9 million a year earlier, Qantas said in a statement.

Two years ago, Joyce was the highest paid chief executive in Australia, according to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), after successfully spearheading a turnaround programme. He was ranked eighth by ACSI last year.

The airline said Joyce took no salary from April to July this year as revenues collapsed, before returning to 65% of his base salary in August.

Part of the decline in Joyce’s total pay was because he offered, and the board agreed, to not receive 345,000 shares associated with a long-term incentive from 2017, Qantas said. It added that a decision on whether those shares will ultimately vest or lapse has been deferred until at least August 2021.

Qantas has announced plans to cut 8,500 jobs, or nearly 30% of its pre-pandemic workforce, and the majority of its staff remain stood down and are receiving government support rather than their salaries.

The airline’s Chairman Richard Goyder, who also received no pay from April to July, said management and the board had shown important leadership in taking the salary cuts.

“This is obviously not the same hardship as those stood down or facing redundancy, but it comes at a time when demands on management are greater than ever,” Goyder said.

Qantas’ rivals Singapore Airlines Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd have also announced salary cuts for senior leaders.

($1 = 1.3659 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Christian Schmollinger