DETROIT General Motors Co (GM.N) failed to disclose in its 2011 proxy filing that it paid $600,000 for work done by an advertising agency where the wife of GM's chief financial officer works, the automaker said in a regulatory filing on Friday.
GM said that the transaction has since been properly ratified but that it is evaluating its internal disclosure procedures.
Pernilla Ammann, who is married to GM CFO Dan Ammann, is chief operating officer and partner of Mother New York. The New York-based firm worked on a project to celebrate the centennial of the Chevrolet brand last year.
The deal was unearthed by GM's corporate governance team late last week, GM spokesman Dave Roman said.
Chief Executive Dan Akerson and GM's chief lawyer must sign off on contracts worth more than $120,000 if they involve firms with financial ties to spouses of senior executives.
Typically, those executives flag potential related party deals to GM, but Ammann did not know that his wife's company played a role in the project, Roman said. Akerson and GM's lawyer have since reviewed and approved the contract.
"This transaction has been properly ratified under our related party transaction policy, but not all the required procedures were followed," GM said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
GM is evaluating its internal disclosure process to "further assist our officers with compliance requirements," Roman said.
According to the agency's website, Pernilla Ammann is in charge of operations, including human resources and legal.
Separately, the board of China's biggest automaker, SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (600104.SS), approved the transfer of a 1 percent stake in its joint venture with GM back to the U.S. automaker, GM spokesman Jim Cain said.
GM will pay $91.4 million for the stake.
The deal, which still requires Chinese government approval, gives GM equal control of the venture's operations. Approval could come some time around the third quarter.
(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Matthew Lewis)