Ryanair's chairman was re-elected - but support for the American billionaire has weakened

A UK pension fund had recommended that members block David Bonderman’s re-appointment.

By Fora Staff

RYANAIR SHAREHOLDERS HAVE re-elected the airline’s chairman – but support for David Bonderman weakened since last year’s annual general meeting.

The American billionaire was re-elected with 70.5% of the vote at the AGM at a hotel in Gormanston, Co Meath. At last year’s meeting, he garnered 89.1% of the vote.

The company’s flamboyant chief executive, Michael O’Leary, was re-elected with 98.5% of the vote.

The UK-based Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), a shareholder, had earlier recommended that members vote against Ryanair’s report and accounts and block Bonderman’s re-election.

The multibillion-pound fund previously said the airline “has failed to adequately address concerns about the company’s troubled relationship with its employees and the potential impact on its business”.

Through a statement issued today, LAPFF chair Ian Greenwood said “it is encouraging that more shareholders have voted against Mr Bonderman this year”.

“Bonderman has been chairman for too long … He has not taken a lead on employee relations or (made) sure customers have received adequate service during the strikes,” Greenwood claimed.

Strike of German Ryanair employees
Source: Silas Stein/DPA/PA Images

David Bonderman made headlines in 2017 after resigning from Uber’s board of directors after making an inappropriate remark about women at a company meeting.

Fora contacted Ryanair for comment, but the airline did not directly respond to the LAPFF’s claims.

Strikes

Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation in a statement to news wire agency AFP said the choice of venue for today’s meeting – a motorway hotel outside Dublin – showed “that Ryanair is running scared”.

“These are not the signs of a mature company with a sustainable industrial relations model,” it said.

Last week cabin crew in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal announced a 24-hour strike for 28 September – a stoppage union said will be the biggest strike in the Irish carrier’s history.

It follows from industrial action last month which saw pilots from five European nations holding their first-ever simultaneous walkout, causing around 400 flight cancellations and travel chaos for 55,000 passengers.

The Irish airline has since struck an “in principle” deal with Italian staff, which according to unions will allow crews to work with contracts composed under Italian law rather than Irish legislation and make provisions for salary increases and a pension scheme. 

With reporting by AFP and Conor McMahon

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