Boeing CEO received $21 million in compensation last year despite plans to let go of 30,000 employees

Boeing HQ
The company logo hangs above an entrance to the headquarters of The Boeing Company on January 29, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • David Calhoun, CEO of Boeing, was awarded compensation of $21 million last year, even as the company reported a $12 billion net loss.
  • The company also announced it would lay off about 30,000 employees.
  • A regulatory filing for Boeing says the CEO’s total compensation last year is estimated to be 158 times that of the company’s median employee.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun received more than $21 million in compensation last year while announcing plans to lay off about 30,000 workers.

The company reported a $12 billion loss in 2020, following an abysmal year due to a drop in demand for travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, a slump in deliveries of new planes, and the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max following two deadly accidents.

Over the past year, Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, has announced it would let go of about 30,000 employees through layoffs and attrition. Calhoun earlier this month instituted a voluntary layoff plan to help cut costs as the coronavirus complicates the company’s recovery from its 737 Max crisis.

In a letter to employees, Calhoun said recent events have left the company in ‘uncharted waters’ and that cutting staff now will help the planemaker adjust to the smaller aerospace market likely to exist after the pandemic.

Calhoun, who became CEO in January 2020, declined a salary and performance bonus for the majority of 2021, but he still received stock benefits worth some $20 million, according to a regulatory filing. Calhoun declined about $3.6 million in salary but collected $269,231 in salary for the first three months of the year and about $290,000 in other compensation.

Calhoun’s total compensation last year with the estimated stock awards — some that still need to vest — is estimated to be 158 times that of the company’s median employee, a filing showed.

Boeing’s stock price has fallen more than 70% in the past year.

The company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

But a company spokesperson told the New York Times that “Dave obviously gave up a lot.”

Boeing’s cash woes are linked to a steep drop in net aircraft sales. In 2020 alone, Boeing delivered 157 planes. It was the lowest number of planes delivered since 1984. Boeing received more than 650 cancellation orders last year and removed more than 1,000 planes from the market.

US regulators in December lifted a 22-month grounding order for the company’s embattled 737 Max that was instituted after two crashes that resulted in hundreds dead. Then, earlier this month, Boeing announced that some of the Max planes were facing “a potential electrical issue” and recommended that 16 airlines immediately ground those jets so the issue could be resolved. At the time, few other details were released.

Calhoun is one of numerous CEOs who’s received millions of dollars in compensation in 2020. The median pay across more than 300 of the country’s top public companies was around $13.7 million last year, Insider’s Anna Cooban reported.

Insider’s Graham Rapier contributed to this report.