The close ties between Air Canada and law firm Stikeman Elliott raise questions as compensation for airline directors continues to provoke controversy.
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Jean-Marc Hoot, partner in Stikeman Elliott’s Montreal office, is one of the six members of the Human Resources Committee of the Air Canada Board of Directors.
So he participated in the decision to allocate $20 million to award “stimulus bonuses” to company directors in connection with the pandemic. For many years, Stickman Elliott has been Air Canada’s primary legal services provider.
Selling shares worth $500 million
In particular, the company worked to sell $500 million of carrier stock to the federal government as part of the $5.9 billion in financial aid Ottawa provided in April.
Conflict of interest?
Air Canada considers that me Hoot is an “independent” director, however he is skeptical of Sedato Deko, a UQAM accounting professor who specializes in governance.
“As long as the company this person belongs to gets contracts from Air Canada, well, that doesn’t really make them independent, at least in my humble opinion,” she said. yesterday in magazine.
“He is supposed to monitor the actions of senior management and do so impartially, when he necessarily has an interest, direct or indirect, because his company benefits from upcoming contracts from Air Canada. So, in my opinion, there is a conflict of interest issue,” said Ms. deco.
In her opinion, the airline should have taken into account the government assistance it received in its compensation decisions.
“Once we receive any interference from the state, there is still a minimum of decency to be respected, a minimum of restraint,” she said.
The Shareholder Education and Defense Movement (MÉDAC) recommends that Air Canada shareholders vote against the re-election of members of the Human Resources Committee and against the company’s compensation policy, as stated in magazine Organization Director Willie Gagnon.
In an email, Air Canada did not directly respond to questions from magazine On the independence of Jean-Marc Hoot. The company noted that it has tasked Willis Towers Watson with the task of “examining its compensation practices to ensure they are appropriate”. Stikeman Elliott declined to comment.
– With QMI
Last year’s wages for Calin Ruvenescu, former Elliot Stickman
basic salary 910 thousand dollars
Procedures 3.1 million dollars
Options 3.5 million dollars
stimulus reward $723,000
Pension contributions $964,200
Total: $9.3 million
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