(Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary has 5 1/2 years to qualify for a €100 million ($105 million) bonus after the long-serving boss won another extension to his contract.
Europe’s biggest discount airline originally announced the blockbuster incentive in 2019, only for the coronavirus crisis to upend global travel the following year, leading to heavy losses across the industry.
O’Leary has now agreed to extend his contract to July 2028, and with it the vesting date on options for 10 million shares with a strike price of €11.12 originally set at mid-2024. To qualify for the payout he must lift Ryanair’s annual earnings to €2.2 billion — €200 million more than previously — or its stock price to €21.
Ryanair posted a profit of €1.37 billion for the six months through September as travel rebounded from the pandemic, though with European airlines traditional losing money over the winter low season it’s forecasting an annual figure of no more than €1.2 billion, before exceptional items.
The Irish carrier’s shares closed at $12.9 euros Wednesday, requiring them to gain more than 60% in order the reach the incentive target price. They traded 1.4% higher as of 9:28 a.m. Thursday in Dublin.
O’Leary, 61, has led Ryanair as CEO since 1994.
If the maverick businessman’s latest extension plays out he’ll have spent 34 years in the top job at a company he helped transform with a model committed to offering the lowest air fares in Europe, often at the expense of customer comfort and convenience.
In announcing the new deal late Wednesday, Ryanair said the payout “will considerably reward all shareholders if these ambitious targets are delivered.” If O’Leary hits the earnings goal but not the share price target the bonus could be smaller; if he misses both, there’ll be no payout beyond his annual salary.
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