General Motors managed to sell more vehicles than any other automaker on planet earth in 2011 and now its CEO, Dan Akerson, is getting paid. Sort of. Last year marked Akerson’s first full year at the helm of GM, and now he gets to cash in on a $7.7 million pay-day. His 2011 salary was dispersed in two payments, $1.7 million in cold hard cash and another $6 million in the form of salaried and restricted stock units. Even though GM took back the top spot as the best-selling automaker in the world, Akerson isn’t even the highest-paid CEO in Detroit. Alan Mulally, Ford’s boss, reeled in $30 million in cash, stocks, and bonuses last year and Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler’s CEO, declined a salary from the Pentastar but he did cash in on a $19.2 million pay-day from Fiat, Chrysler’s parent company.
Even while GM sold the most vehicles in 2011, the automaker’s shares fell 45 percent last year. The Detroit-based automaker’s annual profit did rise 62 percent however in a proxy filing uncovered yesterday. The decline in shares can be attributed to GM’s Opel endeavor across the pond in Europe, which bled the automaker out to the tune of $747 million in 2011. South American sales (or lack thereof) also dragged down GM’s share value last year. Akerson also felt the pinch of the sinking shares as he had stock-based deferred compensation handed to him last year. There was a $9 million ceiling on payments Akerson could have collected on cash and stock awards last year as well.
The restricted stock units headed Akerson’s way for 2011 reflect his performance in 2010. Akerson served as a director in 2010 and didn’t ascend to the position of CEO until September of that year. For 2010, Akerson received around $2.5 million in compensation.