Comparing CEO pay of the big three travel distribution companies
The CEO of Travelport, considered the weakest of the three global distribution system/tech companies, emerged with the largest pay package, more than $16 million in 2014.
Gordon Wilson, Travelport CEO since mid-2011, took the company public in September 2014 after an aborted attempt by predecessor Jeff Clarke in 2010.
Wilson’s total 2014 compensation gives him major bragging rights when compared with $7.1 million for Sabre CEO Tom Klein and just $1.1 million for Madrid-based Amadeus CEO Luis Maroto.
Both Wilson of Travelport and Klein of Sabre had several compensation-related advantages over Maroto: Travelport and Sabre both conducted IPOs in 2014 while Amadeus went public in Madrid in 2010. Maroto became Amadeus CEO in 2011 — after the IPO. His predecessor, David Jones, benefitted from the spoils of the IPO.
With the stock market debuts of Sabre and then Travelport in 2014, this is the first time that all three major global distribution systems are public companies.
Travelport turbocharged Wilson’s 2014 compensation by giving him stock awards of more than $13 million. It turns out, though, that this includes $8.3 million in stock awards that were granted in 2013 but didn’t get finalized and paid until May 2014.
Sabre’s Klein, whose 2014 base salary of more than $907,000 was the highest among the three CEOs, benefitted from a stock award of more than $3.8 million last year. Klein’s more than $1 million cash bonus plan/incentive plan payment represented 85.5 percent of his target cash bonus opportunity.