When CEOs forget to tell their wives stuff, it's usually something important, such as a mistress. British Airways Plc (BAIRY) CEO Willie Walsh, though, has gone beyond the norm for the rarefied world of CEOs.
According to Reuters, Walsh did not tell his wife that he agreed to work in July for free, as a show of solidarity with his cash-strapped airline. "'She read about it in the papers,' a grinning Walsh told Reuters at a lunch for airline executives gathering in the Malaysian capital," the news service reported.
Before anyone starts passing the hat for Walsh, remember that he makes $1.2 million a year. That's not bad for leading the U.K. airline into a record second quarter loss. BA also has axed its dividend and slashed its workforce by 2,500.
Times for BA and other leading airlines are going to get even tougher as oil prices begin to climb, stifling any hopes of an economic rebound. The International Air Transport Association, a trade association, is forecasting that the world's airlines will lose $4.7 billion this year.
With so many things on his mind, it's no wonder he forgot about his salary cut.
Besides, other CEOs have gotten into far worse trouble with their wives.
In 2005, Boeing Co. (BA) Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher was ousted by the aerospace company for having an affair with a female subordinate. Two years ago, his predecessor Phil Condit was ousted for the same reason. Jack Welch, the legendary former General Electric Co. (GE) CEO, met his third wife Suzy while still married to his second wife Jane. Former United Technologies Corp. (UTX) head George David, 66, is in the midst of a nasty divorce from his 35-year-old wife Marie Douglas-David,a Swedish countess.
There is a pattern here, no?
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