Freed From Government Oversight, GM Triples CEO’s Pay

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press/TNS) -

General Motors paid CEO Mary Barra $16.2 million in total compensation for 2014 in the first year the company’s executive pay was free from government oversight, according to a government filing released Friday.

Her pay was more than triple the $5.2 million she made in 2013, because on Jan. 15, 2014, she was promoted from executive vice president for global product development to CEO. The lifting of government restrictions also was a factor in that increase.

Her 2014 base salary of $1.57 million accounted for almost 10 percent of the entire package, which for all GM executives is pegged much more to performance-based incentives than during the four years of government review.

While most observers will see the pay package as substantial, especially given the company’s ignition-switch crisis, she earned less than the maximum on the performance-based components. For example, GM’s global profit for 2014 fell about 26 percent from 2013.

The Securities and Exchange Commission requires all publicly traded companies to disclose compensation of its top management. A proposal to require disclosure of a ratio of a chief executive’s pay to the median income of its workers has been considered, but not adopted. Calculating the median income of a global company such as GM would be difficult.

But for the sake of simplicity and perspective, Barra’s pay package would be more than 290 times the pre-tax straight time annual pay of a veteran worker with enough seniority to earn the union’s top wage.