«As filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on July 26, 2016 UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION WASHINGTON, D.C. ...»
• NASDAQ requires shareholder approval for certain transactions involving the sale or issuance by a listed company of common stock other than in a public offering. Under the NASDAQ rules, whether shareholder approval is required for such transactions depends, among other things, on the number of shares to be issued or sold in connection with a transaction, while the Irish Listing Rules require shareholder approval when the value of a transaction, as measured under any one or more of four class tests, exceeds a certain percentage of the size of the listed company undertaking the transaction as measured for the purposes of same tests.
• NASDAQ requires that each issuer solicit proxies and provide proxy statements for all meetings of shareholders and provide copies of such proxy solicitation to NASDAQ. The Company is exempt from this requirement as the solicitation of holders of ADSs is not required under the Irish Listing Rules or the Irish Companies Act. Details of our annual general meetings and other shareholder meetings, together with the requirements for admission, voting or the appointment of a proxy are available on the website of the Company in accordance with the Irish Companies Act and the Company’s Articles of Association.
ADS holders may provide instructions to The Bank of New York, as depositary, as to the voting of the underlying Ordinary Shares represented by such ADSs. Alternatively, ADS holders may convert their holding to Ordinary Shares, subject to compliance with the nationality ownership rules, in order to be eligible to attend our annual general meetings or other shareholder meetings.
• NASDAQ requires that all members of a listed company’s Nominating Committee be independent directors, unless the Company, as a foreign private issuer, provides an attestation of non-conforming practice based upon home country practice and then discloses such non-conforming practice annually in its Form 20-F.
The Company also follows certain other practices under the U.K. Corporate Governance Code in lieu of those
set forth in the NASDAQ corporate governance rules, as expressly permitted thereby. Most significantly:
Independence. NASDAQ requires that a majority of an issuer’s Board of Directors be “independent” under the standards set forth in the NASDAQ rules and that directors deemed independent be identified in the Company’s annual report on Form 20-F. The Board of Directors has determined that each of the Company’s eleven non-executive directors is “independent” under the standards set forth in the U.K. Corporate Governance Code (the “Code”).
Under the Code, there is no bright-line test establishing set criteria for independence, as there is under NASDAQ Rule 5605(a)(12). Instead, the Board of Directors determines whether the director is “independent in character and judgment,” and whether there are relationships or circumstances which are likely to affect, or could appear to affect, the director’s judgment. Under the Code, the Board of Directors may determine that a director is independent notwithstanding the existence of relationships or circumstances which may appear relevant to its determination, but it should state its reasons if it makes such a determination. The Code specifies that relationships or circumstances that may be relevant include whether the director: (i) has been an employee of the relevant company or group within the last five years; (ii) has had within the last three years a direct or indirect material business relationship with such company; (iii) has received payments from such company, subject to certain exceptions; (iv) has close family ties with any of the company’s advisers, directors or senior employees; (v) holds cross-directorships or other significant links with other directors; (vi) represents a significant shareholder; or (vii) has served on the Board of Directors for more than nine years.
In determining that each of the eleven non-executive directors is independent under the Code standard, the Ryanair Holdings Board of Directors identified such relevant factors with respect to non-executive directors Messrs. Bonderman, McLaughlin, Osborne, Cawley, Millar and Ms. Phelan. The Board has considered Kyran McLaughlin's independence given his role as Deputy Chairman and Head of Capital Markets at Davy Stockbrokers. Davy Stockbrokers are one of Ryanair's corporate brokers and provide corporate advisory services to Ryanair from time to time. The Board has considered the fees paid to Davy Stockbrokers for these services and believe that they are immaterial to both Ryanair and Davy Stockbrokers given the size of each organization's business operations and financial results. Having considered this relationship, the Board has concluded that Kyran McLaughlin continues to be an independent non-executive director within the spirit and meaning of the Code Rules.
The Board has also considered the independence of David Bonderman given his shareholding in Ryanair Holdings plc. As at March 31, 2016, David Bonderman had a beneficial shareholding in the Company of 7,535,454 ordinary shares, equivalent to 0.58% of the issued share capital. Having considered this shareholding in light of the number of issued shares in Ryanair Holdings plc and the financial interest of the director, the Board has concluded that the interest is not so material as to breach the spirit of the independence rule contained in the Code.
The Board has also considered the independence of Louise Phelan given her role as Vice President Global Operations at PayPal. PayPal is one of Ryanair’s payment service providers. The Board has considered the services provided by PayPal and have concluded that Louise Phelan is an independent non-executive director within the spirit and meaning of the Code Rules.
The Board has considered Michael Cawley’s independence given that he served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Ryanair from 2003 to March 2014 and before that as Ryanair’s Chief Financial Officer and Commercial Director from 1997. The Board has considered Michael’s employment and has concluded that Michael Cawley is an independent non-executive director within the spirit and meaning of the Code Rules.
The Board has considered Howard Millar’s independence given that he was Ryanair’s Deputy Chief Executive up to December 31, 2014, and Chief Financial Officer up to September 30, 2014. The Board has considered Howard’s employment and has concluded that Howard Millar is an independent non-executive director within the spirit and meaning of the Code Rules.
The Board has considered Mike O’Brien’s independence given that he served as Chief Pilot and Flight Operations Manager of Ryanair from 1987 to 1991. The Board has considered Mike’s employment and has concluded that Mike O’Brien is an independent non-executive director within the spirit and meaning of the Code Rules.
The Board has further considered the independence of Messrs. David Bonderman, James Osborne and Kyran McLaughlin as they have each served more than nine years on the Board. The Board considers that each of these directors is independent in character and judgment as they either have other significant commercial and professional commitments and/or brings his own level of senior experience gained in their fields of international business and professional practice.
When arriving at this decision, the Board has taken into account the comments made by the Financial Reporting Council in their report dated December 2009 on their review of the impact and effectiveness of the Code, in particular their comment that independence is not the primary consideration when assessing the composition of the Board, and that the over-riding consideration should be that the Board is fit for purpose.
The NASDAQ independence criteria specifically state that an individual may not be considered independent if, within the last three years, such individual or a member of his or her immediate family has had certain specified relationships with the company, its parent, any consolidated subsidiary, its internal or external auditors, or any company that has significant business relationships with the company, its parent or any consolidated subsidiary. Neither ownership of a significant amount of stock nor length of service on the Board is a per se bar to independence under the NASDAQ rules.
Michael Hickey (Chief Operations Officer). Michael was appointed as Chief Operations Officer in January 2014 having held the position of Director of Engineering since January 2000. Michael who has an MSC in Air Safety Management from City University in London is a licensed aircraft engineer and holds an EASA private pilot’s license.
He has held a wide range of senior positions within the Engineering Department since he joined Ryanair in 1988 and was Deputy Director of Engineering between 1992 and January 2000. Prior to joining Ryanair, Michael worked as an aircraft engineer with Fields Aircraft Services and McAlpine Aviation, working primarily on executive aircraft.
John Hurley (Chief Technology Officer). John was appointed Chief Technology Officer in September 2014. He joined Ryanair from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where he was Vice-President of Engineering and Product Operations, Director of Platform Development and Software Development Program Manager. He was previously Production Manager at both Intuition Publishing Ltd and Education Multimedia Group and has 17 years of experience in the IT industry.
Kenny Jacobs (Chief Marketing Officer). Kenny was appointed Chief Marketing Officer in January 2014. He is responsible for sales, marketing and customer service at Ryanair. Previously Kenny was CMO for Moneysupermarket plc. which has a set of digital brands saving consumers money on insurance, finance, energy and travel. Kenny has spent most of his career in retail with Tesco PLC as marketing director in Tesco Ireland and brand director for Tesco U.K. Prior to that he worked for German retailer Metro Group GmbH in various roles in marketing and IT in Europe and Asia.
Juliusz Komorek (Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer; Company Secretary). Juliusz was appointed Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer; Company Secretary in June 2015, having served as Company Secretary and Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs since May 2009, and Deputy Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs since 2007. Prior to joining the Company in 2004, Juliusz had gained relevant experience in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition and in the Polish Embassy to the EU in Brussels, as well as in the private sector in Poland and the Netherlands. Juliusz is a lawyer, holding degrees from the universities of Warsaw and Amsterdam.
David O’Brien (Chief Commercial Officer). David was appointed Chief Commercial Officer in January 2014 having previously served as Ryanair’s Director of Flight and Ground Operations from December 2002. A graduate of the Irish Military College, David followed a military career with positions in the airport sector and agribusiness in the Middle East, Russia and Asia.
Michael O’Leary (Chief Executive Officer). Michael has served as a director of Ryanair Limited since 1988 and a director of Ryanair Holdings since 1996. Michael was appointed CEO of Ryanair in 1994, having previously served as CFO since 1988.
Neil Sorahan (Chief Financial Officer). Neil was appointed Chief Financial Officer in October 2014, having previously served as Ryanair’s Finance Director since June 2006. Prior to that he was Group Treasurer from January
2003. Before joining Ryanair, Neil held various finance and treasury roles at CRH plc., the international building materials group.
Edward Wilson (Chief People Officer). Eddie was appointed Chief People Officer in December 2002, prior to which he served as Head of Personnel since joining Ryanair in December 1997. Prior to joining Ryanair, he served as Human Resources Manager for Gateway 2000 and held a number of other human resources-related positions in the Irish financial services sector.
Compensation The aggregate amount of compensation paid by Ryanair Holdings and its subsidiaries to its non-executive directors and eight executive officers named above in the 2016 fiscal year was €10.3 million. For details of Mr.
O’Leary’s compensation in such fiscal year, see “—Employment and Bonus Agreement with Mr. O’Leary” below Each of Ryanair Holdings’ eleven non-executive directors is entitled to receive €35,000 plus expenses per annum, as remuneration for their services to Ryanair Holdings. The Chairman of the Board receives a fee of €100,000 per annum. Prior to the 2014 fiscal year, Mr. Bonderman had waived his entitlement to receive remuneration. The additional remuneration paid to all Committee members for service on that committee is €15,000 per annum.
For further details of stock options that have been granted to the Company’s employees, including the executive officers, see “Item 10. Additional Information—Options to Purchase Securities from Registrant or Subsidiaries,” as well as Note 15 to the consolidated financial statements included herein. The Chairman of the Safety Committee is entitled to receive €40,000 per annum in connection with the additional duties in relation to that committee.
Employment and Bonus Agreement with Mr. O’Leary
In October 2014, Michael O’Leary (Chief Executive Officer) signed a five year contract which commits him to the Company until September 2019. This contract replaces a rolling 12 month arrangement under which Mr.
O’Leary has worked as Chief Executive of the airline since 1994. Pursuant to the agreement, Mr. O’Leary serves as Chief Executive Officer at a current annual gross salary of approximately €1 million, subject to any increases that may be agreed between the Company and Mr. O’Leary. Mr. O’Leary is also eligible for annual bonuses as determined by the Board of Directors of the Company, which are subject to the achievement of both budget and personal performance criteria; the amount of such bonuses paid to Mr. O’Leary in the 2016 fiscal year totaled approximately €0.9 million.
Mr. O’Leary is subject to a covenant not to compete with the Company within the EU for a period of two years after the termination of his employment with the Company. Mr. O’Leary’s employment agreement does not contain provisions providing for compensation on its termination.