Calgary

Mayor Nenshi defends million-dollar salaries of top Enmax executives

Calgary's mayor is defending the seven-figure salaries paid to top executives at city-owned Enmax. Last year, president Gianna Manes made more than $2 million, according to a governance report released Friday, while three of four other executives took home more than $1 million each.

CEO Gianna Manes earned $2.1M in 2016 while 3 other executives took home $1M-plus

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, right, is defending the salary paid to Enmax CEO Gianna Manes and other executives. (Left photo: Bill Graveland/The Canadian Press, Right photo: CBC)

Calgary's mayor is defending the seven-figure salaries paid to top executives at city-owned Enmax.

Last year, president Gianna Manes made more than $2 million, according to a governance report released Friday, while three of four other executives took home more than $1 million each.

The issue was discussed at Friday's annual general meeting.

City council sets the salaries for the board of directors at Enmax, which is then tasked with setting executive salaries.

Calgarian Marijke Knipscheer told city council and the Enmax board she was "disgusted" by the million-dollar pay packets because they're so large.

"Yes this is a company that one shareholder has all the power," she said. "However, that shareholder best never forget that it's the residents of Calgary whose hard work is shovelling the money to pay these executives."

Nenshi 'satisfied' with situation

Nenshi called the compensation system for all executives "broken," but he doesn't agree Enmax's leaders are overpaid when you look at comparable companies.

Compensation paid to Enmax's top executives over the last three years. (Enmax)

"The system of peer grouping that companies use leads to an escalation of executive salaries, but to the extent that council can control the governance of this, I'm actually pretty satisfied with where we are," he said.

"Yes, people get paid a lot of money. They get paid not as much as they would in other companies, but we still manage to attract really great folks."

Nenshi pointed out that Manes doesn't make as much money today as Enmax's former CEO did six years ago.

"It's also worth noting that in 2011, as we were going through some change on the organization, the executive compensation at Enmax was cut by about one-fifth," he said.

With files from Scott Dippel

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