General Motors chief executive Mary Barra was paid more than $16.2m in her first year at the head of America’s biggest car company.
Barra, who became the first woman to run a major auto manufacturer when she was promoted to the top job in January 2014, earned 80% more than the $9m paid to her predecessor, Dan Akerson.
Her pay works out at 290 times that paid to a worker earning the union’s top wage. Cindy Estrada, vice-president of the United Auto Workers union, said: “UAW members have worked hard to make the new GM the prosperous company it is today. We look forward to bargaining and sharing in that prosperity.”
Barra was paid a base salary of $1.6m, and granted stock awards worth more than $13.7m that she cannot cash in for several years. She, along with all of GM’s executives, was not granted a cash bonus.
Her pay was higher than her compensation target of $14.4m, despite an ignition switch safety defect which caused 87 deaths according to an independent compensation fund. GM was forced to recall 2.6m cars in relation to the ignition switch issue, at a cost of $2.8bn. GM, which was bailed out by the US government in 2009, on Thursday wrote off a further $150m related to the recall.
Last week a judge ruled that GM would not have to face dozens of lawsuits accusing the car company of concealing the ignition switch defect ahead of its bankruptcy. In a move that potentially saves GM billions, the plaintiffs will now have to file their claims against the financially limited “Old GM”, a shell company comprising bad assets GM shed in bankruptcy.
GM’s first quarter net income rose to $945m, up from $125m a year earlier.
This article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for theguardian.com on Friday 24th April 2015 22.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010