Trade Centre Limited CEO Fred MacGillivray’s supplemental pension of $800,000 was questioned yesterday during a public accounts hearing on the finances of the Crown corporation.
The corporation, which runs the Metro Centre, World Trade and Convention Centre, Exhibition Park and a number of other facilities, reported a loss of about $2 million during the last fiscal year, a number released in the provincial budget Tuesday.
Six out of the 450 people employed by the Trade Centre were laid off in the past week as a result of flagging finances.
NDP MLA Graham Steele asked the chair of the corporation’s board of directors to explain the supplemental pension during the hearing.
As president and CEO of the provincially owned business, MacGillivray, who makes an annual salary of $206,000, is already entitled to the government’s public servant pension. The supplemental pension is in addition to his salary and standard pension.
Stewart McInnes, chair of the corporation’s board of directors, said the pension was put in place by the board seven years ago as an incentive to keep MacGillivray on staff.
“We were in competition with the private sector to retain his services,” McInnes said.
McInnes, who handled questions about the pension during the hearing, told media afterward that MacGillivray will only be paid out upon his retirement at a rate of about $30,000 a year.
But Steele said that the money will be paid out in its entirety, not on a yearly basis.
“That money is his,” he said.
For the remainder of the hearing, MacGillivray spoke at length about the challenges of trying to compensate for aging buildings with limited capacity.
He said Halifax is bypassed more than a dozen times a year as a destination for major conventions and high-profile entertainers.
Urban centres like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and even Winnipeg have venues that hold between 6,000 and 11,000 more spectators than Halifax.
“We’re turning away almost as much business as we’re bringing in,” MacGillivray told the committee.
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