The former chief executive of bankrupt travel firm Thomas Cook said on Tuesday he understood public anger over his pay but defended his record, saying he had worked tirelessly to try to save the company.
Asked about his salary, which totalled 1.02 mn pounds in 2018 including pension and benefits, Fankhauser said he did not set his own pay or decide any bonus. “I’m not going to try and defend my base pay, because in relation to a normal worker’s base salary, this is an enormous amount ... I fully understand the sentiment in the public,” he told the committee. “However, what I can say to that is that I worked tirelessly for the success of this company and I’m deeply sorry that I was not able to secure the deal.”
Fankhauser said his efforts to transform the company after his appointment in 2014 had been constrained by its debts. He said that a 750,000 pound bonus he was paid in 2017 could theoretically be clawed back, but 30% was paid in shares which were now worthless. “My commitment to the company was shown: I never sold one share, because I was believing in the company,” he said.