By Michael Millar
Date: Monday 30 Jan 2012
easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has opened a new front in his ongoing war with the airline, this time denouncing "fat cat bonuses" for its executives.
Sir Stelios, whose family still has a 38% stake in the airline, has tabled a motion at the annual meeting next month to block a proposed pay deal.
There are reports that if shareholders support him the board could resign, something that doesn't appear to phase the airline's founder.
"These guys are welcome to resign anytime," he responded in a statement.
"I know as shareholders we could easily replace them with talented executives and experienced non-executive directors who will cost half as much in bonuses."
The pay deal put forward by the directors would potentially award 10 senior executives £8m worth of shares over the next three years.
"We must take a stand against directors who seem to regard our company as their personal piggy bank to be dipped into at will," said Sir Stelios.
"The gravy train of £180m free shares issued over the last decade must come to an end now."
easyJet saw revenues rise 16.7% in the last three months of 2011 as passenger numbers rose 8.1%.
Sir Stelios upped the stakes by adding that if shareholders could vote down bonuses at easyJet "then bonuses will come down in all listed companies".
There has been a major political storm after it was revealed on Thursday that Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Stephen Hester was in line for a bonus worth almost £1m in shares.
He has since announced that he will not accept the award.
Sir Stelios' ongoing rows with the airline include criticisms last year of its expansion plans and an 'incestuous relationship' with Airbus, something the company denies.
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