Spirit Airlines’ new CEO will see a jump in salary

By   –  Reporter, South Florida Business Journal
Spirit Airlines’ incoming CEO is set for a big salary increase when he takes over in 2019.

The low-cost airline announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday that its new CEO, Ted Christie will see his base salary rise to $700,000 when he becomes the CEO on Jan. 1, 2019. This will be about 21 percent more than what the company is paying its current CEO, Bob Fornaro.

The Miramar-based company announced Dec. 12 that Christie, its CFO, will replace Fornaro when his term ends next year. Before moving into the CEO role, Christie will become the president of Spirit Airlines and will join its board of directors Jan. 1, 2018.

On top of his annual salary, Christie will also receive a one-time promotional grant of $2.5 million worth of restricted stock. In addition, he will be eligible for a bonus of 100 percent of his salary in 2018 and 125 percent of his salary in 2019.

In 2016, Fornaro had an annual salary of $548,236 and total compensation of $7.2 million, made up mostly of stock awards. As CFO, Christie received a base salary of $352,750 and total compensation of $1.29 million.

Christie joined Spirit in 2012 as senior VP and CFO, and this year took on the role of executive VP. He will replace Fornaro who has presided over Sprit Airlines during a roller-coaster year during which the company suffered losses due to hurricanes and had mass cancellations because of pilot contract disputes.

Fornaro has focused on softening the brand’s image and touting its improved customer service, including its 90.4 percent on-time performance in November.

Spirit Airlines also announced that it intends to transfer the listing of its common stock to the New York Stock Exchange from the Nasdaq. Spirit said it expects its common stock will begin trading on the NYSE on Dec. 28.

In its most recent quarter, operating income declined to $104 million from $135.2 million in the prior-year period. The company’s stock was trading at $44.35 on Monday morning, down more than 23 percent, year-over-year.

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