Coronavirus: These CEOs are Foregoing Salaries to Support their Businesses and Employees

As reports of mass layoffs and pay cuts surface in the wake of coronavirus impact on businesses, top executives from some of the large firms have promised to forego their own salaries to protect their staff

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The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves through airline, hospitality and restaurant industries. Some are even calling the impact far more severe than any other pandemic, epidemic or war has ever caused.

As the revenues fall significantly, companies are downsizing their workforce and instituting pay-cuts to save cost. Indigo has announced up to 25 per cent cut of senior executives, state-run Air India has decided to withdraw allowances of executive pilots, cabin crew and officers and GoAir has reportedly laid off expat pilots. Not just airline industry, companies across manufacturing, services and tourism sectors are also reportedly laying off employees to stay afloat.

However, on the other side of the fence, some Indian conglomerates have come forward to assure they will not cut salaries of their staff or layoff employees. In fact, top executives of some of the large firms, both in India and other countries, have even decided to forego their salaries to support their businesses.

Entrepreneur India lists out six CEOs who will take salary cuts to protect their employee’s financial needs in these testing times.


Vijay Shekhar Sharma

The CEO and founder of Paytm announced on Friday that he will not take two month’s salary. “I commit that money to any needs of Paytm office-help-staff in these testing times,” he tweeted. His decision was inspired by Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, Sharma said.

Twitter: Marriott International

Arne Sorenson

The Marriott International CEO in a moving video message to his workforce announced to forego his salary for the rest of 2020. “Both Mr Marriott and I will be not be taking any salary for the balance of 2020 and my executive team will be taking a 50 per cent cut in pay,” he said.

Hospitality is one of the high-risk sectors in the ongoing crisis witnessing sharp fall in demand due to restrictions on travel. Marriott group of hotels is seeing a 75 per cent fall in revenue, as per Arne.


Ed Bastian

Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian will forgo his own salary for six months as the Atlanta-based airline company moves quickly to preserve cash and protect the business. Aviation sector is among the worst hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Your veteran colleagues will tell you that we have been through turbulent times before, and what has always carried us through has been our commitment to our values, our culture and each other," Bastian said in an email to his employees.


Alan Joyce

The CEO of Australian flag carrier Qantas will forgo his salary for the rest of the financial year, a company statement said. Joyce is reportedly Australia’s highest paid CEO who earned USD 15 million in the financial year 2018.

Other company executives will take a 30 per cent pay cut, as per the company statement.

Linkedin, Wikipedia

Logan Green & John Zimmer

Co-founders of the US-based ridesharing company, Lyft have pledged to contribute their salaries through the end of June to support driver partners of the company during the coronavirus outbreak.  

Green, CEO, and Zimmer, President, wrote to the driver partners to inform them of a new service ‘LyftUp Driver Task Force’ under which drivers can help neighbors get to grocery stores, workers to hospitals and caretakers to their jobs.

Bajaj Auto Website

Rajiv Bajaj

Though not a pay cut announcement, Rajiv Bajaj, CEO and MD of Bajaj Auto in an interview promised to put his employee’s interests before his own. “I will cut my salary to zero before a single employee is laid off,” he said.