Calgary 2026 CEO won't get bonuses based on successful Olympic bid

The proposed bonuses raised the ire of one city councillor and raised questions about whether Calgary 2026 had predetermined the outcome of its bid exploration ahead of a plebiscite.

Mary Moran will be paid $290,250 per year, the equivalent to her pay at Calgary Economic Development

Calgary 2026 CEO Mary Moran will be paid $290,250 per year. (CBC)

The new CEO of Calgary 2026 says she turned down a higher salary and bonuses based on a successful Olympic bid. 

"I just decided that it was a responsible thing for me to do," said Mary Moran.

"There was obviously a fair amount of noise about it before I even started or before a contract was signed. We have a lot of work to do and I want to eliminate any doubt in the community's mind. So if this is going to be a hurdle for them to get over, then I just wanted to eliminate it."

The proposed bonuses — one for getting to a plebiscite and another for a successful bid — first came to light when Calgary 2026 board chair Scott Hutcheson spoke to reporters following the announcement of Moran as the CEO.

The organization is private and is not covered under provincial freedom of information rules, but it is funded entirely with public dollars. 

Hutcheson also said at that time that he didn't think it was "necessary information" to make Moran's salary public. 

The proposed bonuses raised the ire of Coun. Sean Chu and raised questions about whether Calgary 2026 had predetermined the outcome of bid exploration ahead of a plebiscite scheduled for Nov. 13.

During the announcement of her new role, Moran spoke extensively of the need to find accurate information in order to make the right decision for the city. 

"We will not do this at all cost," she said on July 31.

Moran will be paid $290,250 per year for her work as head of Calgary 2026, the same pay she says she received at Calgary Economic Development, the job from which she has taken a leave of absence. 

She says she turned down a higher salary.

"The assessment of the search firm is that it's valued at a higher dollar, but I feel that it's some ways similar to the job that I did. And anybody that knows me from Calgary Economic Development knows that I operate with fiscal responsibility, and so I'm going to apply the same rules here," she said. 

Moran said the organization's first task is to develop a budget and that public engagement is high on the priority list. 

"We've really got to buckle down and get some work done so that we can get out and start communicating some facts to the community, because there's not very many facts out there right now," she said.