Public headaches with public money

Bombardier feels wrath of public with no patience for C-suite largesse
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/17/2017
After public protests outside his Montreal headquarters, Bombardier president and CEO Alain Bellemare asked the board of directors to defer more than half of the $44 million the company’s executives received in compensation in 2016 until 2020. The public outcry followed the federal government’s recent pledge of $372.5 million in repayable loans to the company. Credit: Christinne Muschi (Reuters)

Feeding from the public trough might be tempting, but taking public money poses a host of risks for private organizations.

Just ask Bombardier. Not only does CEO Alain Bellemare get to be on the cover of Canadian HR Reporter for less-than-flattering reasons, but he also faced the wrath of government officials and the general public over executive compensation practices.

Bombardier, an aerospace giant, has fallen on hard times. The Quebec government stepped up to help out, handing over roughly $1 billion in 2016, and Ottawa recently pumped a bit more air under its wings with a $373-million loan to lift its CSeries and Global 700 aircraft.