Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser defended his pay at a heated showdown with MPs today.
Fankhauser said he was “deeply sorry” for the holiday operator’s collapse, but added that he “worked extremely hard” for his pay.
“In relation to [a] normal worker’s salary this is an enourmous amount,” he admitted.
Fankhauser has earned £8.3m since November 2014.
Beis committee chair Rachel Reeves asked whether he should hand back his bonus given he failed to secure a rescue deal to save the travel agent from liquidation amid a mountainous debt pile of £1.5bn.
“I worked tirelessly for the success of this company, I am deeply sorry I was not able to secure a deal,” Fankhauser replied, adding that he would not decide today on whether or not to hand back his bonus.
His £750,000 2017 bonus could be clawed back, although 30 per cent of that comprised shares, which are now worth nothing.
The former CEO said his “commitment to the company was shown” by putting half his pay in shares.
Fankhauser added: “I am deeply sorry about this failure and I deeply sorry for the distress we caused to million of customers who booked holidays with us.”
Sten Daugaard, the former boss of Thomas Cook, blamed “the high debt and the high service costs” for management’s failure to turn around the tour operator.
Fankhauser added that trading conditions also played their part.
“I tried everything I could to transform the business at high pace,” he said, but added: “We were not fast enough in transforming the business.”
Thomas Cook’s collapse left 9,000 people without jobs.
Hays Travel – a much smaller family-run business – later came in with an offer to save the business and secure around 2,500 of the firm’s former staff’s jobs.
Main image credit: Thomas Cook