Bell Execs Paid Millions in Bonuses Despite Financial Shortfalls

Bell awarded CEO Mirko Bibic a compensation package totaling $13.43 million in the past year, despite the company not meeting its 2023 financial targets, reports the Globe and Mail.

This package includes a $2.96 million annual bonus, a slight drop from the $3.09 million bonus he received in 2022. Bibic’s salary was $1.4 million in 2023.

The disclosure, made in Bell’s proxy circular to shareholders, comes amid the company’s announcement of significant job cuts (to the tune of 4,800) and an increase in dividend payouts to shareholders to 3.1%.

Retiring president of Bell Media, Wade Oosterman and three other executives also received substantial bonuses, ranging from $853,470 to $1.08 million, as part of their multi-million-dollar compensation packages.

These payouts occurred in a year when Bell reported falling short of its financial goals across revenue, free cash flow, and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), just by a hair.

In February, Bell announced it would be cutting 4,800 jobs, its largest restructuring in almost three decades, a move it blamed on the federal government including the CRTC. This decision followed an earlier cut of 1,300 jobs in June, mostly affecting management roles, also blamed on the economy and federal regulations.

A Bell spokesperson emphasized that the company’s executive compensation policy aims to attract and retain top leadership talent. She said a significant portion of executive compensation is performance-based, aligning with the company’s results and long-term strategies.

“Targets for each metric are set within financial guidance ranges and 2023 results for every metric were within our overall financial guidance ranges,” said the Bell spokesperson.

Bibic’s total compensation saw an adjustment to remain competitive in the market, with his stock-award value increasing to $8 million—up from $7.5 million in 2022. However, his reported total compensation saw a slight decrease, mainly due to a lower estimate of the actuarial value of his pension.

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