GM’s Dan Akerson compensation increased to $7.7 million in 2011

Article by Christian A., on April 29, 2012

The overall compensation of Dan Akerson, the CEO of General Motors, increased by almost three times to $7.7 million in 2011, reflecting a pay increase for his first full year serving as chairman and CEO, GM said in the annual proxy statement submitted recently by the company. Akerson received a base salary of $1.7 million and $5.9 million in stock awards in 2011.

On Sept. 1, 2010, Akerson was appointed CEO and on Jan. 1, 2011, he started serving as the chairman. Akerson drove GM to achieve a record net profit of $7.6 billion in 2011 while increasing its market share in the U.S. as well as worldwide.

The U.S. Treasury Department controls the annual compensation of GM executives, including Akerson. The U.S. Treasury Department still owns 31.9% of GM's outstanding common shares that it got after the automaker was bailed out in 2009 by the federal government.

GM said in the filing that Akerson’s compensation is still lower than the 25th percentile of his counterparts due to the Treasury's limits even with the major contributions that he has made to operating performance as well as his excellent leadership. On the other hand, the overall compensation of Ford CEO Alan Mulally last year increased by 11% to $29.5 million.

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department announced that Akerson’s compensation for the current year will be frozen at the 2011 level. The government’s estimate for Akerson’s salary in 2011 was at $9 million, lower than the $7.7 million that GM has recently disclosed.

The compensation of the other GM executives had also increased last year. Vice Chairman Steve Girksy was paid $5.3 million, about 44% higher.

The compensation of recent retiree, former Vice Chairman Tom Stephens, had increased by 48% to $8.3 million. Dan Ammann was paid $3.5 million, which include $2.8 million in stock awards. Ammann took over as CFO in early 2011. In the filing, GM said that giving adequate rewards to its executives is “extremely difficult” when they have to comply with the compensation constraints that the Treasury department had imposed.

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