Compensation to Finnair CEO sparks debate in Finland: report

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The additional compensation to the CEO of Finnair has created an unusual unanimity in Finland against excessive payment of the executives of major companies, media reports said.

Ben Zyskowicz, a long time conservative party MP, said on national broadcaster Yle that a small circle of top executives award high compensations to each other.

While executive compensation levels in private industries are subject to decisions by the companies themselves, it is not the case with state-owned or partially state-owned companies.

Zyskowicz said “the rest of society must do what it can to prevent a small circle to do whatever they want.”

Finnish media disclosed earlier that Finnair decided in 2016 to pay CEO Pekka Vauramo 130,000 euros (153,322 U.S. dollars) annually as an additional pension.

However, ministerial level decisions were taken in the government in 2012 and 2016 that state-owned or partially-owned companies would not use additional pension as a perk. The then-CEO Mika Vehvilainen confirmed Finnair’s adherence to the policy in 2013.

The news about additional compensation to the Finnair CEO was covered against the hard salary and personnel policies that Finnair has applied to its staff.

As Finland-based flight attendants were unwilling to accept the company management vision of lower pay in 2015, Finnair outsourced cabin services on the routes to Hong Kong and Singapore based on Asian salary levels.

Juha Kuurne, chairman of the Finnish flight attendants union, told business daily Kauppalehti that staffers were disappointed that the recent success of Finnair did not result in additional compensation to the employees, “but it all went to the management.”

Finnair was last in the public focus for its compensations in 2012. The then minister in charge of controlling state owned companies, Heidi Hautala, said on Yle on Wednesday the boards of state-owned companies should take into account the impact on the image of the companies.

In media reactions, newspaper Keskisuomalainen said the Finnair decisions undermine mutual trust in the society. “The rich are getting richer,” it wrote.

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