Former Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye Receives Record £6.4 Million Pay Package

Former Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye has come under scrutiny after it was revealed that he received a record pay package amounting to £6.4 million, according to the airport’s annual report.

This substantial payout included an annual bonus exceeding £1.2 million, despite flights experiencing average delays of 20 minutes throughout the year.

Holland-Kaye, who served as the CEO of Heathrow for nearly a decade, was succeeded by Thomas Woldbye from Copenhagen Airport in October. Since assuming the top position, Woldbye has already received over £1 million in compensation.

During his tenure, Holland-Kaye faced various challenges and achievements. He navigated Heathrow’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the airport only achieving its first post-pandemic operating profit last year. However, Holland-Kaye also faced criticism for engaging in disputes with airlines over landing charge levels, which were eventually settled by the Civil Aviation Authority in March.

Heathrow defended Holland-Kaye’s substantial “termination payment,” arguing that it was a recognition of his long and dedicated service to the airport. The airport highlighted significant increases in passenger numbers, reaching close to pre-pandemic levels, and adjusted EBITDA, which increased by just under a third to £2.2 billion.

A spokesperson for Heathrow emphasized the importance of strong leadership and dedicated teams in meeting the unprecedented increase in demand for travel. However, the disclosure of Holland-Kaye and Woldbye’s sizable pay packets has raised eyebrows, particularly as it coincides with the commencement of the annual meeting season in the City.

As shareholders and stakeholders scrutinize executive compensation, Holland-Kaye’s record payout has sparked debate about fairness and accountability in corporate governance.

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