GM CEO Barra’s compensation jumps 77% in 2015 to $28.6M

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. Chairman and CEO Mary Barra’s total compensation package in 2015 put her in the middle of the leaders of the Detroit automakers. She earned more than the top executive at Ford Motor Co., but was well short of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s CEO.

Barra earned total compensation of $28.59 million in 2015, jumping nearly 77 percent from the year before, mostly due to a one-time stock option grant aimed at retaining senior executives. The details were revealed Friday in its proxy filing to federal regulators.

Barra’s 2015 compensation tops Ford President and CEO Mark Fields, who earned $18.57 million. His compensation was down slightly from the $18.9 million he made in 2014 due to a change in pension value.

Her compensation, though, was less than the total that Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne earned. His compensation package in 2015 included salary and cash bonuses worth $10.9 million, plus stock awards totaling a possible $90.5 million that push total compensation to more than $101 million. But the figure would be lower now after the spinoff of Ferrari stock.

Barra, 54, has been CEO of the GM since mid-January 2014, and in January of this year added the chairman title. Last year she earned:

■$1.75 million in base salary, up from $1.57 million in 2014

■$12 million in stock awards.

■$11.17 million in a one-time stock option award

■$3.06 million in short-term cash compensation tied to company results

■$12,012 change in pension value

■$597,118 in other compensation, including contributions to savings plans, life insurance, use of chartered planes for personal travel, security and other perks. Barra received $7.3 million in compensation (including salary, a short-term incentive plan payout and stock equity awards that vested) in 2015, up from $4.5 million in 2014 and $3.6 million in 2013 when she was head of global product development, purchasing and supply chain.

The automaker in 2014 set an executive pay system that compensates based on their and the automaker’s performance. GM earned a record $9.7 billion last year, more than double what it made in 2014, as shareholders earned $5.02 a share. The company in 2015 posted $152.4 million in revenue and the automaker returned $5.7 billion to shareholders.

Barra, the auto industry’s first female CEO, made $16.16 million in total compensation in 2014. Her 2014 compensation exceeded a target set for her but was short of amounts she could have earned if business performance objectives had been fully realized. The company was rocked in 2014 by the ignition switch recall that ultimately was tied to 124 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Other GM named executive officers also had their total compensation grow during the past year. GM President Dan Ammann earned a total of $11.8 million in compensation, up from $8.5 million. Mark Reuss, head of global product development, purchasing and the supply chain, earned $10.2 million, up from $9.48 million in 2014. Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens earned $8.1 million, up from $4.9 million. And GM General Counsel Craig Glidden, who joined GM in March 2015, earned a total of $8.44 million.

Glidden was the only named executive to receive a bonus last year. He got $500,000 as a cash signing bonus.

Barra’s 2015 compensation target set by the GM board was $16.81 million, while Stevens was targeted to earn $5.1 million; Ammann, $7.2 million; Reuss, $6.3 million; and Glidden, $3.5 million.

In July, GM in a regulatory filing, announced the one-time Driving Stockholder Value Option grant of stock options, the first such options granted by GM since it emerged from bankruptcy as a new company in 2009. The special stock option grant to 300 senior leaders was offered to maintain leadership. Those who accepted it had to sign non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

Barra was granted 2.6 million in the special stock options and what she actually will realize from them will vary.

Executives awarded the options can exercise them after they vest and pursuant to terms of the award and incentive plan. The options require executives meet certain performance measures and GM’s stock price to be higher than $31.32 a share. Forty percent of the options vest in February 2017. The rest vest in three amounts starting in February 2018 through February 2020 that are dependent on GM achieving performance targets that meet or exceed total shareholder returns of an automotive peer group.

GM stock closed Thursday at $32.66 a share.

The automaker Friday also announced its annual shareholders meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m. June 7 at the company’s Renaissance Center headquarters in Detroit. At the meeting, shareholders will vote to elect 12 directors to the board, an advisory vote on executive compensation, selection of Deloitte & Touche LLP as GM’s accounting firm for 2016 and vote on a shareholder proposal.

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