In a statement shared today, the French luxury conglomerate announced that executive chief and chairman François-Henri Pinault has opted to reduce his fixed salary by 25% from the first of April until the end of the year. The CEO’s paycheck has remained at 1.2 million euros (or $1.2 million) since 2017 and will be shaved down to 960,000 euros in 2020.
Pinault has also decided to waive the entirety of his variable pay — or a portion of compensation based on performance — for the whole year. The company’s managing director, Jean-François-Palus, is also waiving his variable pay. The group’s board of directors will also submit a revised pay policy that shareholders are expected to vote on at Kering’s next annual general meeting.
As the coronavirus ravages much of the retail sector, top executives and other senior leaders at a number of companies — including Vans parent VF Corp., department store chain Macy’s and fashion brand Ralph Lauren — have opted to forgo their salaries or receive reduced pay to keep businesses and many of their workers’ jobs intact.
Kering made headlines early this week after it reportedly backpedaled on its decision to place workers on emergency government assistance amid the pandemic. According to internal documents obtained by the Financial Times, Kering — as well as rival LVMH — reneged on its decision to put some employees on France’s partial unemployment scheme after smaller fashion houses Hermès and Chanel announced that they would cope without state support.
Other international companies — including German sportswear giant Adidas, for example — have been criticized for taking advantage of legislation intended to help workers and businesses that face financial hardship. Critics have suggested financially stable firms and their highly compensated leaders should be conservative in their use of government assistance.
According to Bloomberg‘s ranking of billionaires, Pinault is France’s third-richest man, with a net worth equivalent to $32.9 billion.
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