10 business leaders who have cut their salaries to $0 to help struggling workers as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on their industries

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NYC Times Square Rain Coronavirus

There are now over 69,000 reported cases of the novel coronavirus in the US. 

The outbreak has created an unprecedented challenge for the economy. Many sectors shut down virtually overnight, causing a wave of job losses and a plummeting stock market

Companies across the country are grappling with the sudden financial stress caused by the pandemic and taking measures to mitigate the inevitable blow it will have on business. 

Leaders from some of the companies most affected by the pandemic, particularly airlines, are forfeiting their paychecks as the pandemic worsens. These leaders include the cofounders of Lyft and the CEO of Marriott. Yahoo Finance also reported on the trend of business leaders taking paycuts.

Keep reading for the full list.

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Delta Air Lines

On March 13, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian sent out a memo to all Delta employees updating them on how COVID-19 is impacting the company and the steps being taken to “protect the financial position of the company.”

Bastian said Delta would offer voluntary short-term, unpaid leaves and institute an immediate hiring freeze. He also announced in the memo that he would be giving up 100% of his salary for the next six months.

Alaska Air Group

In a memo released on March 16, Alaska Air Group — the parent company of Alaska Airlines — laid out an update on its financial and operational outlook amid the pandemic. These included offering employees unpaid leaves of absences for 30-, 60-, and 90-day timeframes, and freezing hiring except for essential roles.

In addition, the memo said that as of March 7, CEO Brad Tilden and President Ben Minicucci had reduced their base salaries to zero. 


United Airlines

In a memo that was sent out to United employees on March 15, CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby laid out pandemic responses including schedule reductions, a hiring freeze, and introducing a voluntary leave program.

In addition, Munoz and Kirby reduced their salaries to zero through June.

Allegiant Air

In a memo to employees on March 18, Allegiant laid out a strategic plan of operations during the pandemic. The plan includes halting hiring and reducing airline capacity.

In addition, the memo stated that CEO Maurice Gallagher and President John Redmond would take a full pay cut.


In an email to drivers, Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said they would donate their salaries through June to support drivers during the coronavirus pandemic. 



In a video message, Marriott CEO and President Arne Sorenson responded to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the company by, among other things, suspending new hires except for critical positions and stopping all hotel initiatives for 2020.

In addition, he said he will not be taking a salary for the balance of 2020 and his executive team will take a 50% pay cut.

General Electric

On March 23, General Electric Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. released a statement to employees about how it is handling the economic impacts of the coronavirus. The company will reduce of its total U.S. workforce by about 10%, among other things.

In addition, Culp will give up his full salary for the remainder of 2020. The vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Aviation, David Joyce, will give up half of his salary starting April 1.

United Talent Agency

The Beverly Hills-based United Talent Agency has announced that it will cut the salaries of its staff as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A person familiar with the situation told the LA Times that CEO Jeremy Zimmer and co-Presidents Jay Sures and David Kramer will give up their salaries for the rest of 2020.

Union Square Hospitality Group

Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) and the founder of Shake Shack, donated his entire compensation to USHG at the same time that he laid off 80% of the company’s staff. He also set up a relief fund for his workers, he wrote on Twitter.

Texas Roadhouse Inc.

Wayne Kent Taylor, the CEO of Texas Roadhouse, has given up the rest of his annual base salary and bonus to help pay front-line employees during the coronavirus pandemic. The change will go into effect starting with the March 18 pay period.

In 2018, Louisiana Business First reported that Taylor made $1.3 million, which included his base salary of $525,000.

* This article was originally published here
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