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Bombardier defers executive pay hikes after public backlash

Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal, left, with NetJets executive vice president Pat Gallagher during a news conference at the 2015 National Business Aviation Association Convention in Las Vegas.
Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal, left, with NetJets executive vice president Pat Gallagher during a news conference at the 2015 National Business Aviation Association Convention in Las Vegas. File photo

More than 50 percent of 2016 compensation for six Bombardier executives will be deferred following an uproar in Canada over the pay increases.

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said in a statement Sunday night that six executive officers will not see those compensation increases until 2020 — provided the company reaches its financial performance goals that year.

The statement follows a regulatory filing outlining 2016 compensation increases for the executives — including Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal — and a strong public backlash in reaction to the increases, especially in light of the province of Quebec’s $1 billion investment in Bombardier’s C Series aircraft program.

“Over the past seventy-five years, our fellow citizens have always been by our side,” Bellemare said in the statement. “It is because of this deep relationship that we are sensitive to the public reaction to our executive compensation practices.”

In February, the Canadian government announced it would invest $372.5 million in Learjet-parent Bombardier. The funding, to be distributed over four years, is aimed at supporting the Montreal-based plane and train maker’s new Global 7000 business jet and C Series passenger jet. It followed Quebec’s investment in the C Series in October 2015.

Bombardier sought the investment from its home government because of costly delays in the production and certification of its first narrowbody jetliner. Those cost overruns and delays were draining the company of cash, and occurred at the same time Bombardier was developing its large-cabin, long-range Global 7000 and the Learjet 85.

Bombardier in early 2015 paused production of the Learjet 85, causing the layoff of 600 workers in Wichita, and later that year canceled the program that was to be the largest Learjet ever made.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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