GM CEO earned $7.7 million in cash, stock in 2011

DETROIT Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:33pm EDT

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson (C) is surrounded by members of the media during the final press preview day for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson (C) is surrounded by members of the media during the final press preview day for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Cassese

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) Chief Executive Dan Akerson earned $7.7 million in cash and stock in 2011, the year the automaker reclaimed its global sales crown and boosted its annual profit by 62 percent, GM said in a proxy filing on Thursday.

During his first full year as CEO, Akerson earned a $1.7 million salary, GM said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He also received about $6 million in salaried and restricted stock units.

Last year, GM sold more vehicles than any other automaker in the world and reached a labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union that helped maintain its lower break-even level.

Still, GM's shares fell 45 percent last year, while the broader S&P 500 index was unchanged.

Among investors' concerns was GM's troubled Opel unit in Europe, where GM lost $747 million last year. GM was also hurt by weakness in South America.

"Although, by objective measures, our 2011 results were an improvement over 2010, they did not compare favorably to some of our key competitors," GM said in the proxy. "This was reflected, in part, in the price of our common stock."

The drop in GM's stock price hurt Akerson's stock-based deferred compensation. The value of those shares fell by $1.9 million last year, according to the proxy.

Compensation of GM executives is governed by a special pay master from the federal government as part of provisions put in place after GM's U.S.-funded bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.

Akerson could have earned up to $9 million in cash and stock awards under federal regulations, according to the proxy.

The restricted stock units he earned in 2011 reflect his performance in 2010, when he largely served as a director, not CEO. Akerson has been CEO of the company since September 2010.

In 2010, Akerson's compensation came to about $2.5 million.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS

GM also nominated two new members to its board: James Mulva, the CEO of ConocoPhillips (COP.N), and Tim Solso, a former CEO of Cummins Inc (CMI.N).

The new directors will stand for election during GM's annual meeting on June 12. Their addition will bring the size of the board to 14 members.

Before GM went public in 2010, the U.S. Treasury had a majority stake in it. Now the Treasury owns 32 percent of GM's common shares outstanding.

This month, the Treasury froze the 2012 compensation packages for Akerson and the top executives at AIG and Ally Financial GKM.N, citing the "exceptional" help they received from bailouts during the financial crisis.

Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann earned $3.5 million last year, $2.8 million of which came in the form of stock awards.

Steve Girsky, the GM executive charged with overhauling Opel, received $5.3 million in compensation, with about $4.7 million coming from stock awards.

Last year, Ford Motor Co's (F.N) top executive, Alan Mulally, earned nearly $30 million in cash, bonuses and stock options. Sergio Marchionne, head of Chrysler Group LLC FIA.MI, declined a salary and a bonus for 2011.

But Marchionne was paid 14.5 million euros ($19.2 million) by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, the majority owner of Chrysler.

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Dave Zimmerman and Dale Hudson)

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