Bonuses up over fourfold for Continental's top pair; But CEO's 1999 pay totals less than in 1998; Executive suite

THE BALTIMORE SUN

HOUSTON -- Continental Airlines Inc.'s top two executives saw their bonuses more than quadruple last year compared with 1998 as the fifth-largest U.S. airline company's stock rose 33 percent during 1999.

Continental Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gordon Bethune's 1999 bonus jumped to $6.39 million from $1.38 million in 1998, while the bonus for President and Chief Operating Officer Gregory Brenneman rose to $4.41 million from $1.02 million.

Still, Bethune's total 1999 pay package of $7.26 million, including an $860,840 salary, dropped 30 percent from $10.37 million he earned in 1998 because he didn't receive any options last year.

Brenneman's $5.08 million pay package this year was about 40 percent lower than the $8.51 million he was paid in 1998, also because he didn't receive any options last year.

The company said the airline's top five executives didn't receive options last year because of "larger-than-normal grants in 1998." The 1998 grants were designed to keep the executives at Houston-based Continental after Northwest Airlines Corp. bought a controlling Continental stake in November 1998.

Bethune and Brenneman also donated $340,000 and $1 million, respectively, of their compensation to a charity set up to help Continental employees facing difficult financial situations.

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