Delta CEO Ed Bastian got $12.36 million in total compensation in 2021

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

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Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Delta CEO Ed Bastian made $12.36 million in total compensation last year, down slightly from 2020.

Bastian’s 2021 compensation included a $950,000 salary, $4.1 million in stock, another $4.1 million in stock options, $3 million in incentive pay and $121,630 in other compensation, according to a late Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

His stock award payout was about half what he got in 2020. But that was partially offset by incentive pay.

Atlanta-based Delta eked out $280 million in net income in 2021, thanks to $4.5 billion in federal relief funding that offset losses.

Bastian’s salary jumped to $950,000 in 2021, after declining to $237,500 in 2020. The CEO declined to take a salary from April through December 2020. At the time, Delta was struggling through the early months of the pandemic, and slashed its payroll through unpaid leaves and cut many workers’ hours and total pay. Bastian’s salary was then restored in 2021.

The CARES Act, passed in 2020, granted billions in relief funding to airlines while also limiting executive compensation, prompting Delta to adjust incentive awards.

But the board said it made no changes to Bastian’s compensation structure in 2021, adding that the vast majority of his compensation is at risk and dependent on company performance and the stock price. In 2020, his total compensation was $13.1 million.

Delta’s filing with the SEC also revealed that the company paid big signing bonuses to two executives hired in 2021. Chief Financial Officer Dan Janki got a signing bonus of $1.5 million with an initial equity award of $4.5 million last year, and while President of International Alain Bellemare got a $1 million signing bonus and a $3 million initial equity award.

In total, Janki got nearly $10.7 million in total compensation in 2021, including a $307,765 salary, $6.1 million in stock awards, $1.1 million in option awards, $1.6 million in incentive pay, the signing bonus and other compensation.

Meanwhile, Delta president Glen Hauenstein made $7.1 million in total compensation, and chief legal officer Peter Carter made $5.2 million in total compensation.

The board’s compensation committee said it changed incentive plans for executives in 2021 to “better link compensation with performance through the expected stages of recovery, while ensuring the majority of compensation remained at risk.” Among the changes, Delta said it reduced the number of performance measures, shifted targets, switched to cash payments for certain payouts, changed the stock award vesting schedule, and reduced the maximum payout.

The SEC filing also showed that shareholder activist John Chevedden is proposing that Delta report on its lobbying payments and policy. Chevedden said the airline has attracted scrutiny for lobbying against limits on baggage fees and ticket change fees and that Bastian lobbied to cut COVID-19 quarantine time for employees. Delta’s board opposes Chevedden’s shareholder proposal.