VICTORIA – BC Ferries' board of directors has appointed senior executive Michael Corrigan to replace outgoing CEO David Hahn, who is leaving at the end of the year.
Corrigan's salary will be $563,000, if he reaches all the performance and safety bonus targets in his contract. Along with three other senior executives, Corrigan is being paid a lump sum of $200,000 to compensate for the cancellation of BC Ferries' long-term bonus program.
BC Ferries board chair Donald Hayes said Corrigan's total compensation will be about 60 per cent of that paid to Hahn, who announced his early retirement in September as part of a cost-cutting program at the Crown corporation. Hahn's compensation topped $1 million in the last two years, making him the highest-paid public servant in B.C.
Hayes said Corrigan's former position of chief operating officer is being eliminated, saving BC Ferries about $600,000 a year.
Corrigan joined BC Ferries in 2003 as vice president for business development, where he was responsible for new vessel construction and terminal upgrades.
Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said Corrigan's new salary is within the range of legislation passed by the government this spring amid controversy over Hahn's salary. Speaking to reporters in Vancouver Tuesday, Lekstrom said he expects there will still be complaints about the pay, which is more than the new CEO of BC Hydro makes.
But the board makes the decision, and legislation passed in 2003 to take the political interference out of BC Ferries operation prevents cabinet ministers from getting involved.
Lekstrom said he is expecting B.C. Ferry Commissioner Gord Macatee's report on ferry rates to be released soon. Macatee is reviewing the mandate imposed in 2003 to move towards a user-pay ferry system and not allow the profitable large runs to subsidize the smaller routes.
"The biggest question I get is the affordability issue, and Mr. Corrigan recognizes that, and he is going to do, in the discussion I had with him, everything he can to work collaboratively and ensure we have an affordable system," Lekstrom said.
Listen to audio of Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom's comments: