GM CEO Mary Barra is again Detroit's highest-paid auto executive. See how much she made

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra was paid $29.1 million, the automaker reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday. 

Barra's pay increased from her 2020 compensation of $23.7 million. She maintained her position as the highest paid CEO among the Detroit Three automakers in 2021. Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley received $22.8 million in total compensation during his full year as head of the Dearborn automaker. Stellantis NV CEO Carlos Tavares received $21.5 million in total compensation last year.

GM's Mary Barra once again led Detroit Three CEOs in total compensation in 2021.

Automakers were profitable in 2021 despite constant production shutdowns as a result of supply shortages mostly related to a global shortage of semiconductors or microchips used throughout the vehicle to power everything from the heated seats to the infotainment system.

GM made $10 billion in 2021. Ford Motor Co. in 2021 booked $17.9 billion in profit bolstered by $9.1 billion in gains on its investment in electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc. And Stellantis NV made $15 billion during its first year of existence after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and French rival Groupe PSA merged in January 2021. 

Barra's base salary of $1.995 million in 2020, which was lowered because of a pandemic executive compensation deferral, increased to $2.1 million in 2021. Barra also received a $7.6 million incentive-based bonus for 2021, up from last year's $3.78 million. The bonus is determined by financial performance and meeting strategic goals. 

Barra's stock awards were $14.6 million, up from $13 million last year.  

When evaluating Barra's bonus, a compensation committee considered: GM's accelerated EV investments, "including delivering, in record time, the first GMC HUMMER EVs and BrightDrop Zevo 600 electric delivery vans," and generating $10 billion in net income, according to the SEC filing. 

The committee also considered how Barra "demonstrated strong leadership in the transition to EVs by prioritizing infrastructure," according to the filing. 

Barra announced on an earnings call earlier this week that executive compensation would now be tied to hitting EV goals. 

"This is the right time to directly link a significant part of the long-term compensation for me and every other GM executive to meeting our EV goals," she told investors. "Starting this year, we have added metrics for EV volumes in North America, EV launch timing and EV launch quality to our existing EBIT-margin and total shareholder return measures."

GM estimated that its median employee compensation was $69,433 in 2021, making Barra's pay ratio 420-to-1.

Pay for other GM executives in 2021 included:

  • Paul A. Jacobson, executive vice president and chief financial officer: $9.6 million,  up from $5.2 million made in 2020 
  • Mark L. Reuss. president: $12.5 million, up from $9.9 million made in 2020
  • Douglas L. Parks, executive vice president, global product development, purchasing and supply chain: $8.8 million, up from $6.7 million made in 2020
  • Stephen K. Carlisle, executive vice president and president, North America: about $9 million, up from $6.3 million made in 2020