THE government is “determined” to claw back £20million in bonuses that shameless Thomas Cook execs paid themselves before the airline’s collapse, it has been reported.
A “highly placed” source at the Department for Transport (DfT) said a fast-tracked probe into the doomed travel agent was ordered this week.
Passengers wait to be helped at Palma airport in the Balearic Islands, Spain[/caption]
The cost of repatriating and compensating customers following the closure of the travel firm on Monday will cost around £520m.
And the government wants to chase down greedy fat cat execs and demand they hand back their hefty £20m bonuses which were paid out over the last five years, reports the iNews.
The source said: “We’re doing everything in our power to make sure they are forced to give back the millions they took while mismanaging the company for years.”
They called the collapse of Thomas Cook an example of “gross mismanagement” while branding the actions of the firm’s bosses “despicable.”
This week, it emerged that chief executive Peter Fankhauser took home £8.4m since 2014, including £4.6m bonus payments.
The closure left 21,000 staff without jobs and 150,000 customers stranded abroad.
Boris Johnson asked why the directors should be allowed to pay themselves “large sums of money” as their business went “down the tubes”.
The Prime Minister said it was vital that in future tour firms were stopped from “simply going belly up then requiring the taxpayer to bring everybody home”.
The air rescue, Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation, is set to cost the taxpayer £100m while the government is expected to bear the brunt of the £420m refund bill.
Speaking to iNews, the DfT source said: “We need to make some changes. We’ve got 40 Thomas Cook aircraft sitting doing nothing.
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“Meanwhile, the taxpayer is paying £100m to get people, and staff, home.
“It’s ludicrous those planes are sitting there doing nothing. It’s even crazier the taxpayer is picking up the bill.”
This week it emerged that more than 100 former staff at the travel company have backed legal action in a bid to recover their lost wages.
A breakdown of figures shows five chiefs took home nearly £47million since 2007.
The 58-year-old has been chief executive at Thomas Cook since 2015, during which time he has pocketed an annual salary of up to £725,000.
With his bonuses of £4.6million, he took more than £8.4milion out of the failed company, according to the Daily Mail.
He shares a lavish Surrey property with his wife Raffaella Cassani and two of his three children, which is rented for around £6,000 a month.
Swiss national Fankhauser went into the travel businesses after his dad prevented him from becoming a fighter pilot in the country’s air force.
Harriet Green was Thomas Cook’s chief executive between 2012 and 2014 and once described herself as a “landa” – combining the fierce qualities of a lion and the placid nature of a panda.
She took home almost £11million in total pay and in 2015 alone, she received £6.3million, despite only working for two months of that financial year.
During her time at the company she was on a salary of up to £687,000 a year.
Her tenure was marred by controversies over the inquest of Christi and Bobby Shepherd and she was labelled a “greedy, shameless woman” for her handling of the crisis.
Green agreed to pay a third of a £5.6million bonus to charities chosen by Christi and Bobby’s parents.
Under the Spanish-British businessman’s leadership, the company’s share price tumbled drastically between 2007 and 2011.
Investors were outraged when the 65-year-old walked away with a massive bonus in 2011, taking his total pay over his five-year stint to £16.8million
Frank Meysman, pictured, was the chairman of Thomas Cook at the time of its collapse[/caption]
The 67-year-old became chairman in 2011 and has been paid £275,000 a year.
Last year it was reported the veteran had been looking to leave Thomas Cook but a replacement had not been found.
He earned £2.2million in salary and benefits between 2012 and 2018.
Michael Healy, pictured, took home £8.3m[/caption]
The 69-year-old accountant was chief financial officer from 2012 to 2017.
He took home a total of £8.3million between 2012 and 2018 in salary and bonuses.
The DfT source said: “If ever there was an example of payment for failure, this is it,”
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