Wheels Up Interim CEO Smith gets 150k raise

The move comes after Wheels Up’s Executive Chairman Thakran was given 665k.

By Doug Gollan, July 4, 2023

The move comes after Wheels Up’s Executive Chairman Thakran was given 665k

A week after giving Board Member Ravi Thakran $54,000 per month and 50 free hours in a King Air following his move to Executive Chairman, Wheels Up has given its CFO Todd Smith a $150,000 annual boost for his role as Interim CEO.

The news was disclosed in an 8-K filing after the market closed yesterday.

Smith, bumped to CEO in early May, hours before Wheels Up reported another quarterly loss, promised to make the company profitable on an Adjusted EBITDA basis in 2024.

He replaced Founder, Chairman, and CEO Kenny Dichter in the corner office.

Smith joined Wheels Up in June 2022 as the top financial officer.

Losing $1 million per day

In Q1 financials, Wheels Up recorded a net loss of $101 million on $352 million in revenues.

Adjusted EBITDA was flat year-over-year, with a loss of $49 million.

Cash and Cash Equivalents fell from $586 million to $363 million.

Q2 results will be reported in late July or early August.

During Smith’s tenure as CFO, Wheels Up was hit with a half-dozen possible class action lawsuits after it had to restate last year’s financials.

It also announced a plan to save $30 million via layoffs in March.

Most recently, Smith has been driving a revised membership program.

The new plan cuts prices but only guarantees rates in a reduced service area East of the Mississippi, parts of Texas, and limited parts of the West.

It is designed to improve profitability by decreasing empty legs and cutting response time for unplanned maintenance.

The company has twice had to deny bankruptcy rumors in recent weeks after reports by CNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

A 10-to-1 reverse stock split, designed to avoid delisting by the New York Stock Exchange, temporarily boosted shares to $3.53, although they closed yesterday at $1.23.

Wheels Up’s CEO pay package

The flight provider’s latest 8-K filing says Smith is getting the boost “in recognition of his expanded duties.”

The GE veteran gets a $12,500 increase in monthly salary for the period he serves as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

His bonus target goes to 150% from 100% of his annual base salary as Interim Chief Executive Officer for the appointment period.

He also gets a one-time equity award of 140,171 restricted stock units vesting on January 3, 2024.

Wheels Up executive salaries

Thakran, who led Wheels Up’s SPAC merger partner Aspirational Lifestyle, was awarded $665,000 in base pay, 50 hours of flight time on a King Air 350, a $250,000 value, 160,000 restricted stock units and will also be eligible for a bonus of up to an additional $665,000.

The Asia-based executive can expense up to $800 a night on hotels when he visits the company headquarters in New York City.

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