Business COVID-19

9 CEOs and Leaders Who Just Cut Their Pay in Response to COVID-19

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In a motion to support employees, boost morale, and exhibit corporate leadership, CEOs from some of the largest companies have decided to forgo their annual salaries in response to COVID-19. From Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price (who famously gave all of his employees a minimum $70,000 salary) to Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, here are a few business leaders who have stepped up to the plate to personally support their teams.

Oscar Munoz, CEO, and Scott Kirby, President, United Airlines

In a memo sent out on March 15, Oscar Munoz and Scott Kirby addressed their employees regarding the growing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the management of the airline.

“As the leaders of the 100,000 people of United, we feel a deep obligation to each of you to run our company in a way that protects you — and your ability to provide for your family at home. We also owe it to you, especially in a crisis, to be open with you about important decisions we face,” they wrote.

Both Munoz and Kirby reduced their salary to zero from now until June.

John Zimmer and Logan Green; Co-founders, Lyft

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I an email sent to associated drivers, Lyft Co-Founders John Zimmer and Logan Green announced that they would donate their salaries to drivers whose income has been affected as a result of COVID-19.

Community’s continuing to practise social distancing has resulted in a complete halting of ride sharing options for Lyft users and an over all 70% reduction in business for drivers.

Arne Sorenson ; CEO, Marriott International

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In a message to associates Arne Sorenson said, “In terms of our business, COVID-19 is like nothing we’ve ever seen before…For a company that’s 92 years old, that’s borne witness to the Great Depression, World War II, and many other economic and global crises, that’s saying something.”

Sorenson made the decision to forgo his salary for the remainder of the year and went on to announce all of his executive staff will be receiving a pay cut of 50 percent for the foreseeable future in order to support the business and employees.

Bob Iger; Executive Chairman, Disney

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As of April 1st, Disney Chairman, Bob Iger, will be forgoing his salary of approximately $3 million. Disney has been suffering significantly due to government sanctioned halts to business. Disney’s cruise lines, themes parks, television and movie production have all paused. With an annual income of approximately $47.5 million (including cash bonuses and stock rewards) Iger’s salary will assist in fuelling money back into the company to support workers.

Dan Price; CEO, Gravity Payments

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Price is no stranger to sacrificing personal gain for the betterment of his company and employees. He famously made news for cutting his salary in order to pay employees $70,000 annually. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company lost half of their $4 million monthly revenue. Gravity was faced with laying off 20 percent of their employees to avoid bankruptcy. Price instead opted to sacrifice his pay and involve his employees in the decision making.

“We lost half our $4 million monthly revenue and had four to six months until bankruptcy. When we told employees this, they volunteered pay cuts that will get us through eight to twelve months, with no layoffs.”

Price urges other CEOs to think similarly to reduce impact on employees.

Dan Price tweet about cutting his pay to zero

Ed Bastian; CEO, Delta Airlines Inc.

With an overall 40 percent cut to capacity, Delta Airlines is racing to catch up with a plummet in demand like many other businesses. In a memo posted to employees Bastian wrote, “Demand for travel is declining at an accelerated pace daily, driving an unprecedented revenue impact. Cancelations are rising dramatically with net bookings now negative for travel over the next four weeks. To put that in perspective, we’re currently seeing more cancellations than new bookings over the next month.”

In response Ed Bastian pledged to cutting his salary by 100 percent for the next six months in order to help the company support business needs and the needs of employees who are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

H. Lawrence Culp, Jr.; CEO, General Electric

In a statement released by the company, CEO Lawrence Culp announced its decision to cut its workforce by 10 percent to offset lost business due to COVID-19.

In solidarity with laid off employees, Culp is cutting his salary to zero for the rest of the year. In addition, General Electric’s president and CEO of aviation will be reducing their salaries to 50 percent starting April 1st.