After eight years at the company, the female CEO was making less than the male CEO's starting salary.
Credit: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

EasyJet's new CEO, Johan Lundgren, announced Monday that he will take a pay cut to match the salary of his female predecessor.

Lundgren started as the chief executive of the United Kingdom-based budget airline at the end of 2017 with a salary of £740,000 ($1.04 million). The former CEO, Carolyn McCall, left the company after eight years with a salary of £706,000 (approximately $990,730) — a gap of nearly five percent.

EasyJet did not disclose McCall's starting salary.

"To show my personal commitment, I have asked the Board to reduce my pay to match that of Carolyn's when she was at EasyJet," Lundgren said in a statement, adding, "I also want to affirm my own commitment to address[ing] the gender imbalance in our pilot community, which drives our overall gender pay gap."

The gender pay gap at EasyJet is nearly 52 percent, making it one of the widest in the U.K., according to the Financial Times. All companies with more than 250 employees in the U.K. are required to disclose their gender pay gap by April.

EasyJet's staggering imbalance is driven less by men and women in the same positions making different salaries than it is by the fact the company has more women in low-paying jobs, such as flight attendants. Some 94 percent of the company's pilots are men, according to a statement from the company.

Pilots in the United Kingdom, the United States, and around the world are overwhelmingly men, with women making up approximately 3 percent of the number of pilots worldwide, according to research released by the Royal Aeronautical Society.

EasyJet has pledged to address the gap in its own ranks by recruiting more female pilots — up to 20 percent by 2020.

“I want us not just to hit our target that 20 percent of our new pilots should be female by 2020, but to go further than this in the future," Lundgren said in the same statement.