GM CEO Gets $2.5M Pay Package For 2010

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson received compensation of just over $2.5 million last year, mainly for his four months as the company's top executive.

Akerson took over GM as it wrapped up a remarkable year. GM returned as a publicly-traded company, earned its first annual profit in years and increased U.S. sales.

Since he served as CEO for only part of the year, his compensation was much smaller than other top GM executives, including his predecessor, Ed Whitacre, whose pay package was worth just over $5 million.

Akerson, 62, succeeded Whitacre as CEO on Sept. 1. Akerson got a salary of $566,667, stock awards valued at $1.77 million and other compensation of $194,088, including some for sitting on GM's board.

Akerson's 2010 compensation was disclosed Thursday in a regulatory filing.

Akerson replaced Whitacre just two months before the company's initial public offering in November 2010. GM's board wanted a leader for longer than Whitacre was willing to stay.

Akerson's other compensation included $153,000 in pay for serving a full year on the board, as well as $13,000 in relocation expenses, $6,740 for security and just over $10,000 for company vehicles.

For the full year of 2011, Akerson's pay package will be larger. GM has said that he will get salary and stock worth $9 million annually.

Still, that's dwarfed by the $26.5 million received by Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., GM's biggest competitor.

Whitacre's compensation included a salary of $1.1 million, $3.5 million in stock awards and other compensation of over $336,000. The other compensation included $300,000 for serving the full year as chairman and $13,000 each for life insurance and the company vehicle program.

GM pulled off a remarkable turnaround in 2010 after emerging from bankruptcy protection the year before. It went from losing more than $80 billion in the five years before its bankruptcy and needing a government bailout, to earning $4.7 billion in 2010. It also became a publically traded stock again in November and increased U.S. sales by 7.2 percent last year.

The Associated Press formula calculates an executive's total compensation during the last fiscal year by adding salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year. The AP formula does not count changes in the present value of pension benefits. That makes the AP total slightly different in most cases from the total reported by companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The value that a company assigned to an executive's stock and option awards for 2010 was the present value of what the company expected the awards to be worth to the executive over time. Companies use one of several formulas to calculate that value. However, the number is just an estimate, and what an executive ultimately receives will depend on the performance of the company's stock in the years after the awards are granted. Most stock compensation programs require an executive to wait a specified amount of time to receive shares or exercise options.

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