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Aon execs see higher pay a year after controversial salary cuts


Aon PLC’s top executives received flat or slightly higher salaries last year but saw significant hikes in their total compensation, according to regulatory documents filed late Friday.

The disclosure comes about nine months after the brokerage’s decision to reverse COVID-19-related pay cuts it imposed on about 70% of staff shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic and about five months after it reversed a steeper cut on executive salaries.

Part of the sharp 2020 executive compensation increase reflects the executives’ decision earlier last year to forgo nonequity incentive payments for the prior year.

According to the company’s preliminary proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CEO Greg Case received $20.3 million in total compensation in 2020, a 26.8% increase over his 2019 compensation package. His salary remained flat at $1.5 million but his stock awards increased by $2.2 million, and he received $2.3 million as part of his nonequity incentive plan.

Christa Davies, Aon’s chief financial officer, received total compensation of $12.2 million last year, a 58.2% increase, and Eric Andersen, Aon’s president, received $6.7 million, a 50% increase in total compensation. The salary component of both executives’ compensation increased by only 2.6%.

Last April, in a controversial move, which was not followed by its closest rivals, Aon imposed a 20% temporary salary cut on about 70% of its staff due to economic uncertainties brought on by COVID-19. The brokerage also announced that its top executives would take 50% salary cuts and it pledged to retain all staff during the pandemic.

Two months later, the company reversed the salary cut for staff and said it would repay withheld amounts plus 5%. In October, it reversed the cut for senior executives and said it would repay the withheld amounts.

Insurance brokers’ financial results generally were not as severely affected by the pandemic as some feared at the onset of the crisis. Aon reported a 1% increase in revenue and 28.3% increase in profit for 2020.