File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

CEOs give up their salaries, take massive pay cuts amid Covid-19 crisis

By Staff reporter Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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Cape Town -  As the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, CEOs from various organisations have taken massive pay cuts - and some are using the money to help their workers. 

This comes after billionaire music and film executive David Geffen received backlash after he posted a photo of his superyacht floating in the Caribbean, while “hoping everybody is staying safe.” Geffen subsequently deleted his Instagram account.

Across all industries, CEOs are tightening their belts to save their companies and help workers. 

CEO of Columbia Sportswear, Tim Boyle took his salary down to $10K (about R190 000). It has been reported that he made $3.3m in 2018.

CEO of Yum Brands David Gibbs vowed to forgo the rest of his base salary this year to finance one-time $1K (approximately R18 000) bonuses for managers at the company’s restaurants. Yum owns KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and others.

Several other CEOs in the airline and hotel industries have announced similar moves.

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said he will give up his salary for the remainder of the year in addition to cutting the pay of senior management in half. 

Edcon CEO Grant Pattison said he will not to draw a salary “until the business is open and stable”, according to a Citizen report. 

Edcon, one of South Africa’s biggest clothing and beauty retailers, has said it is unable to pay suppliers through a lockdown, and it might have to seek protection from creditors.

As CNN noted, executive pay cuts alone aren't likely to have a significant impact on companies' bottom lines or provide a boost to lower-paid employees, but they send an important message that executives are 'sharing the pain'.

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