Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's chief executive officer, took home just over US$30 million ($43.7m) last year, a $6 million increase from the year before, according to a filing late Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as the company's business soared after another banner year.
With revenues at a record high in 2018, breaking the $100 billion mark for the first time, Boeing's heavily incentivised compensation model was a boon for the 55-year-old executive, whose base salary is $1.7 million. The company noted in the filing that Muilenburg's annual compensation of $23.4 million was 184 times higher than the median salary of company's employees. (His total compensation included stock options from prior years that were paid out.)
Now, after two harrowing crashes that killed a total of 246 people, Muilenburg faces one of the toughest tests of his 34-year career at the Chicago-based behemoth. Last week, Boeing's stock dropped after one of its 737 Max 8 airplanes crashed in Ethiopia, the second time in five months one of the planes was involved in a deadly crash. In October, one of the planes went down in Indonesia, killing everyone on board.
Muilenburg's compensation was first reported by the Seattle Times.
Countries around the world have grounded the aircraft, a major source of revenue for the company, which has more than 150,000 employees. Boeing has said that it has stopped delivering the 737s while it works on updating its flight-control system. Jeffries analyst Shelia Kahyaoglu said in a note that a two-month halt in deliveries could cost the company $5.1 billion this year.
Meanwhile, Congress has vowed to investigate the cause of the crashes. And families of at least two dozen crash victims are suing the company.
Fighting to stem the fallout from the crashes, Muilenburg called President Donald Trump Tuesday, vowing that the planes were safe and that there was no reason to ground them. Eventually, the Federal Aviation decided to do so anyway.
"The safety of the American people, and all our people, is our paramount concern," Trump said in explaining his decision.
Still, analysts have said the crisis is unlikely to have a long-term effect on the company's finances. Despite the crash in October last year, the company finished 2018 with record revenue that beat its goal, profit of $10 billion and a healthy order book for future growth.
In 2017, Boeing's stock climbed nearly 90 per cent, and for the first two months this year, it was up nearly 35 per cent.
In the SEC filing, Boeing's compensation model for its executives is "designed to drive near-term program execution, operational excellence and sustainable growth." By those measures, Boeing's CEO had a banner year, the filing said.
"Mr. Muilenburg's leadership in successfully executing Boeing's business strategies in 2018, as evidenced by record operating cash flow, revenue, operating earnings and commercial airplane deliveries," it said.