Wheels Up Increases Pay Packages for Executives

The troubled provider’s acting CEO gets $150,000 raise, more generous incentives.

Wheels Up's board of directors has given the company’s top executives new pay packages even as it continues to grapple with large financial losses, according to documents recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. CFO and acting CEO Todd Smith received a $150,000 annual raise, 140,171 shares of stock, and a lump-sum potential bonus equivalent to 150 percent of base salary. Smith’s base salary, including the recent raise, is estimated by BJT to be $725,000, based on the company’s 2022 proxy statement filings. Based on Wheels Up’s current stock price, Smith’s package could have an annual value of nearly $2 million. 

Meanwhile, Wheels Up gave its executive chairman, Ravi Thakran, an annual consulting contract with a base value of $655,000, the potential for an annual bonus equal to that amount, 160,000 shares of stock, King Air flight hours, and an expense allowance.

Wheels Up lost $101 million in the first quarter and $555 million in 2022. It is expected to announce second-quarter results later this month. In a conference call with analysts in May, Smith hinted that the company would likely continue to lose money as it shifts to a more regional business model but said he believed profitability will be achieved next year. Wheels Up also announced hourly price rate cuts from 5 to 13 percent, effective this month.