Former Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller could receive almost €4.36m if IAG’s bid for the Irish airline is successful.

According to the airline’s annual report, Mr Mueller held 709,555 Aer Lingus shares by the end of last year and had an option to buy a further 1m shares for considerably less than their current market price.

Were he to exercise those options, his shareholding would be worth €4,359,365 under IAG’s €2.55-per-share bid for the airline.

Mr Mueller’s total remuneration for last year was €1.236m, down €285,000 on 2013. 

Of this, €475,000 was basic salary and fees with a further €523,000 given as a performance-related bonus.

Labour TD Joe Costello criticised the decision by the Aer Lingus board to award Mr Mueller valuable long-term share rights.

He said it raised issues about the board’s enthusiasm for the sale of Aer Lingus to IAG.

"How many more millionaires are going to be created at senior management level by the board’s decision to sell the airline?

"The board is quite content to flog Aer Lingus to the first bidder that comes along for a bargain-basement price and without conducting an independent valuation of the true value of the airline and its assets, including the valuable Heathrow slots."

Mr Mueller stepped down as CEO of the airline at the end of February 2015 to take up management of Malaysian Airlines.

He has been succeeded by Stephen Kavanagh, who had most recently been chief strategy and planning officer for Aer Lingus.

The annual report reveals that Mr Kavanagh’s basic salary for 2015 will be €450,000.