France slams Airbus CEO Enders′ ′golden handshake′ on exit | News | DW | 04.04.2019
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France slams Airbus CEO Enders' 'golden handshake' on exit

The French finance minister has described the leaving bonuses and pay for outgoing Airbus CEO Tom Enders as "excessive." Bruno Le Maire's comments coincide with the yellow vest protests around France.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday criticized an "excessive" exit deal for outgoing Airbus CEO Tom Enders.

Enders led the European aerospace giant to new heights by overseeing sharp rises in share prices since becoming chief executive in 2012. However, the company has also faced allegations of improper use of middlemen during Enders' tenure, with investigations pending in some instances, while internal compliance probes led to a string of prominent executives leaving the company with no specific allegations against them ever made public. 

Under an exit deal, he is expected to receive a retirement package and future potential share earnings worth €36.8 million ($41.3 million).

"We're talking about excessive amounts here," Le Maire told French broadcaster BFM.

Read more: Uncertain times take Airbus back to the drawing board

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire gestures at a news conference

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described plans to cap exit payouts — what he described as "golden handshakes"

Plans to limit caps

Le Maire told the French TV channel that the French government was planning to implement a cap on exit deals for executives.

"I will limit the amount of bosses' golden handshakes to 30 percent of their salary," Le Maire said.

The French government has been rocked by mass protests over the cost of living and may therefore be looking to improve its image by cracking down on lavish bonuses for business executives.

"The figure announced regarding Tom Enders is obviously excessive and could harm the reputation of Airbus," Le Maire told French newspaper Les Echos earlier this week. "I call on the directors of Airbus to draw the [necessary] conclusions."

Although the previous Socialist government of Francois Hollande issued a non-binding code of conduct for companies, Le Maire said legislation was needed "because clearly good practices are not enough."

France and Germany each hold an 11-percent stake in Airbus. Reducing government influence on the aerospace giant is another achievement often credited to Enders, who is now 60.

Read more: German taxpayers may lose out over Airbus A380 loan

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ls/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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