Covid US: CEOs Pay DOUBLED in 2020 for Laying Off Thousands of Employees

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U.S. business leaders, some of whom run businesses that have received millions in loans from the federal government, took home higher wages and bonuses in 2020, despite layoffs or employee leave as a result of the pandemic.

Southwest Airlines CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly received a record $ 9.2 million in salary, stock options and other compensation in 2020, even though his company lost $ 3.1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly and other top executives of the company saw their salaries rise 5 to 14 percent in 2020, according to SEC documents.

The filings were first reported by the Dallas Morning News.

Southwest Airlines CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly received a record $ 9.2 million in salary, stock options and other compensations in 2020, though his company lost $ 3.1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

Southwest Airlines CEO and Chairman Gary Kelly received a record $ 9.2 million in salary, stock options and other compensations in 2020, though his company lost $ 3.1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

Southwest received more than $ 6.7 billion in government grants and threatened to give workers time off if the union didn’t agree to 10 percent pay cuts.

After the government approved a second round of stimulus checks in December, the airline said it would not make any wage or staff cuts in 2021 – even if the company is losing money.

Kelly’s base salary and base salary decreased in 2020 – from $ 750,000 the previous year to $ 562,500.

But he also made $ 300,000 in bonuses and $ 7.1 million in stock. Kelly also received $ 1.25 million in other compensation.

A company spokesman said the stock subsidies were awarded in January 2020 – before the outbreak of the pandemic.

The CARES Act provided aid to airlines on the condition that they would not lay off employees, buy back shares, or pay dividends to shareholders.

Kelly’s salary package was based on the company’s 2019 performance when it raised $ 2.3 billion in profits. It was Southwest’s 47th consecutive year in black.

American Airlines also reported a massive loss in 2020 – worth $ 8.9 billion after earning $ 1.7 billion in 2019.

The financial blow dealt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the airline to lay off thousands of employees.

American Airlines also reported a massive loss in 2020 - $ 8.9 billion worth $ 1.7 billion in 2019. Nevertheless, CEO Doug Parker (above) took home more than $ 7 million in stock options.

American Airlines also reported a massive loss in 2020 – $ 8.9 billion worth $ 1.7 billion in 2019. Nevertheless, CEO Doug Parker (above) took home more than $ 7 million in stock options.

Nonetheless, CEO Doug Parker took home more than $ 7 million in stock options, according to the View from the wing blog – despite the fact that the company has brought in about $ 9 billion in financial aid from the federal government.

DailyMail.com has contacted American Airlines for comment.

The cruise industry was also hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Norwegian Cruise Line lost about $ 4 billion in 2020, forcing it to renew hundreds of employees and cut the wages of its remaining workforce by 20 percent.

Nonetheless, Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio saw his salary double to $ 36.4 million last year.

This included a $ 3.6 million bonus and a $ 2.8 million one-time bonus.

A Norwegian spokesman said The Wall Street Journal that the pay rise was part of a three-year contract extension. Del Rio also benefited from special payouts related to the management team’s performance during the pandemic.

Another company hit hard during the pandemic was Hilton, the world’s second-largest hotel operator.

The cruise industry was also hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Norwegian Cruise Line lost about $ 4 billion in 2020, forcing it to renew hundreds of employees and cut the wages of its remaining workforce by 20 percent.  Nonetheless, Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio (above) saw his salary double last year to $ 36.4 million

The cruise industry was also hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Norwegian Cruise Line lost about $ 4 billion in 2020, forcing it to renew hundreds of employees and cut the wages of its remaining workforce by 20 percent. Nonetheless, Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio (above) saw his salary double last year to $ 36.4 million

The company reported a loss of $ 720 million in 2020, including a loss of $ 225 million in the fourth quarter.

Hilton has laid off about 22 percent of the company’s global workforce and thousands of others.

Nonetheless, the company’s CEO, Chris Nassetta, received a $ 13.7 million bonus worth of Hilton stock, according to CBS News.

The company’s board also made changes to the stock award that could add tens of millions to his total salary.

In SEC filings, Hilton said it paid Nassetta a total of $ 56 million in 2020 – more than double what he earned in 2019.

A Hilton spokesperson told CBS News the figure is too high due to “ accounting and disclosure rules ” and Nassetta’s actual salary is $ 20.1 million, a slight drop from what he earned in 2019.

“Our CEO did not take home $ 55.9 million in 2020,” said the spokesman.

Yum Brands, the conglomerate that owns popular brand names like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, paid its CEO, David Gibbs, $ 9.5 million last year, despite revenues dropping 25 percent across the business.

In SEC filings, Hilton said CEO Chris Nassetta (above) paid a total of $ 56 million in 2020 - more than double what he earned in 2019. The company reported a loss of $ 720 million in 2020, including a loss of $ 225 million in the fourth quarter.  Hilton has laid off about 22 percent of the company's global workforce and thousands of others

In SEC filings, Hilton said CEO Chris Nassetta (above) paid a total of $ 56 million in 2020 – more than double what he earned in 2019. The company reported a loss of $ 720 million in 2020, including a loss of $ 225 million in the fourth quarter. Hilton has laid off about 22 percent of the company’s global workforce and thousands of others

Foot Locker, the sports retailer, paid CEO Richard Johnson $ 12 million, 30 percent more than in 2019, according to CBS News.

While Johnson saw his pay rise, the company left almost all of its employees without pay as of the end of April 2020. It has since offered to re-hire most of them.

The pay rise took place even though Foot Locker’s annual sales hit an all-time high in 2019 – $ 8 billion.

As a result of store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic and protests against the police-implicated murder of George Floyd, sales fell 5.7 percent to $ 7.548 billion.

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