Spotlight on: David Lenigas, chairman of fastJet


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The Independent Online

So what's this about the chairman of a London-listed company getting £1 a year?

Welcome to the world of David Lenigas, the chairman of fastJet, a low-cost African airline. Interestingly, in his press release he announced that he had set his own pay at £1. Normally, of course, this would be the job of the remuneration committee.

Why is he doing it?

He says: "I am passionate about the possibility of fastJet's ability to change Africa's GDP growth profile. I have been doing business in Africa for a number of decades now and this is my personal way of contributing to changing life for the better in Africa."


Mr Lenigas is keen on publicity, it's true. His companies tend to issue a lot of stock market announcements. FastJet has made 21 such announcements in the past two months. That's far more than the number of tweets Mr Lenigas has sent to his 229 followers in the same period. The latest? "Announced this morning that I will do the job of running fastJet for £1 a year as my personal contribution to African growth."

And what else does he do?

Well, he now chairs Solo Oil and Leni Gas and Oil (geddit?), but not so long ago he was on the board of no fewer than 147 companies. He claims he is taking life a bit more easy these days but anyone who bumps into him on his not-infrequent visits to London would say otherwise. The delights of his homes in Monaco and South Africa just don't seem to keep him away.

Can he get by on £1 a year?

Undoubtedly. His final pay and bonus package at Lonrho (the African conglomerate which is a backer of fastJet) was a tidy £1.2m. That was after a row with the former trade minister Sir Richard Needham over a £250,000 salary hike, which led to Sir Richard's resignation as a non-executive director.

No perks?

Of course. He will get "legitimately invoiced expenses incurred on the company's business". But with fastJet tickets costing as little as £12 one-way, those expenses should not be too extreme.