Air Canada CEO's compensation surged in 2012; Porter paid $67,000

MONTREAL – Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu’s total compensation more than doubled to $9.5 million in 2012 thanks to a $5-million retention bonus.

The airline (TSX:AC.B) said Friday in a regulatory filing ahead of its annual meeting that Rovinescu’s pay increased from $4 million in 2011.

Rovinescu, 57, was eligible for the one-time bonus on the third anniversary of his appointment. One-third of the payment was contributed to an employee benefit plan.

The payment was a sore point during last year’s difficult contract negotiations.

Excluding the bonus, his compensation increased 13 per cent from 2011.

His base salary was remained unchanged at $1.4 million, but his cash bonus increased to $1.9 million from $325,000. Share and option-based awards were $925,000, down from $1.95 million. His pension value was $299,600 compared with $320,500.

Rovinescu was credited among other things for exceeding the pre-tax operating profit target, boosting liquidity levels, completing bargaining and arbitration with employees and announcing the launch of low-cost carrier Rouge.

Air Canada turned a $131 million profit last year, ending a string of losses.

Chief financial officer Michael Rousseau’s compensation decreased 12 per cent to $1.48 million, while chief commercial officer Ben Smith’s remuneration fell by the same amount to $1.2 million.

Duncan Dee, who resigned as chief operating officer in October, received $976,826 last year.

Air Canada also said that Arthur Porter, currently being held in custody in Panama on fraud charges, received $67,088 as a director before resigning June 4, 2012. The compensation was split between cash and deferred share units. Porter attended just one-third of all board and committee meetings until he left the board.

Air Canada will hold its annual meeting June 27 in Vancouver.

The airline’s largest shareholders are Letko, Brosseau & Associaties, which holds 19 per cent of all class B shares, and PAR Capital Management, holder of 26.4 per cent of all class A variable voting shares.