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

A lone person walks in the rain in a mostly deserted Times Square in New York City following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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A lone person walks in the rain in a mostly deserted Times Square in New York City following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The US now has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, more than 190,000.

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

Companies across the US 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, executives at Airbnb, and the CEO of Marriott. And in the media and entertainment sector, Disney’s Executive Chairman Bob Iger is forgoing his salary for 2020, while the top five Comcast executives are donating theirs to charity.

Keep reading for the full list.


Delta Air Lines

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An airport worker guides a Delta Air Lines Airbus A319 plane on the tarmac at LAX in Los Angeles.
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Reuters

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

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David McNew / Getty Images

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

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An Allegiant Air Airbus A319 aircraft.
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FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty

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.


Lyft

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A Lyft sticker is seen in a car windscreen in Los Angeles.
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Reuters

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.


Marriott

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Logo of Marriott hotel is seen in Vienna
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Reuters

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

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SEBASTIEN BOZON / Contributor/ Getty Images

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

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Jay L. Clendenin /Contributor/Getty Images

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

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Texas Roadhouse

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.


Disney

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Bob Iger.
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Jeff Kravitz / Contributor/Getty Images

Bog Iger, the executive chairman of Disney, has forgone his salary for the remainder of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Variety report which cited an internal memo.

Bob Chapek, who recently succeeded Iger as Disney’s CEO, will be taking a 50% pay cut, according to the report. Starting April 5, all VP-level executives will be receiving a 20% cut in salary, senior VPs will see a 25% cut, and executive VPs will see a 30% cut.

As Business Insider previously reported, Disney has shaken up its digital strategy amid the pandemic, releasing its “Frozen 2” animated movie on the Disney Plus platform months ahead of schedule.


Airbnb

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Brian Chesky.
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Mike Windle/Getty Images

The CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, has given up his salary for the remainder of the year to help his company during the coronavirus pandemic and avoid layoffs.

The company’s co-founders, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, have also forfeited their salaries for 2020.


Comcast

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the five top executives from Comcast Corporation, including Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, will donate their salaries to COVID-19 relief amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the corporation, which owns NBCUniversal, has pledged $500 million to help its employees during the outbreak. This fund is intended to support employees through continued pay and benefits where operations have either been paused or impacted.