One would expect that as the CEO of one of the largest automakers in the world, the pay would be pretty darn competitive. And for the just-announced incoming CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, the financial compensation package could well be substantially rosier than it was for her predecessor. That's because she'll be the first exec at the company's helm since the federal government sold off its remaining interest in the company earlier this week.

Barra, who made a combined $4.9 million in 2012 between her $750,000 salary and $3.9 million in stock awards, could end up earning considerably more than the $11.1 million outgoing CEO Dan Akerson took home last year, according to a report from The Detroit News. During a call with the media, Akerson hinted that the newly independent company will have no pay ceiling, although he did hint that executive pay would be "more performance oriented."

"You've got to walk the talk. So a good portion of the executive compensation here, on the order of a quarter, will be tied to quality. And not quality as we define it, but by how the external view," Akerson said. He then elaborated that if execs don't hit quality goals, they won't receive that pay.

If Barra makes the same $11.1 million as her predecessor, it'd leave her salary between the $20.9 million earned by Ford boss Alan Mulally and the $1.23 million taken in by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne (who draws most of his pay from Fiat).

Whatever the case, GM execs are claiming that the ability to set pay at levels the company sees fit shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing. That's because the automaker believes it will be better able to recruit talent without Uncle Sam looking over its shoulder.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 80 Comments
      ryanasimov
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about letting a year go by to assess a new CEO's performance before dumping huge amounts of money on them? Not just Barra, any CEO.
        Jamie Elmhirst
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ryanasimov
        Completely agree. And she's an internal recruit for heaven's sake. They don't even have the excuse that they paid silly money to steal her away from somewhere else.
      jfa1177
      • 1 Year Ago
      I sincerely think their needs to be a dose of reality brought in to Executive pay. These huge salaries are absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jfa1177
        Owners of the company can vote on it, much like in life elections have consequences.
      Michelle Blackwell
      • 1 Year Ago
      " the automaker believes it will be better able to recruit talent without Uncle Sam looking over its shoulder." GM was able to still recruit talent, avoid liquidation and get back on track primarily because the government was breathing down its neck. Maybe having the government eyeballing GM would prevent it from beaching itself on the shores of bankruptcy island in the next financial brouhaha and needing government intervention to stay viable. Just sayin'.
      odoey
      • 1 Year Ago
      Try as I might I cannot get myself to believe there is a CEO worth that kind of money. I am a retired GM worker, and lost a bundle in shares of the old GM, I can't even find the value (if any) of my GM stock.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      While I agree that companies should be allowed to pay employees as they wish (and also allowed to suffer the consequences of their actions), the notion that higher pay would allow GM to more successfully recruit the top talent is kind of silly. Barra was already a GM employee. She was already a high-level executive at GM. It's not like she was hard to find and only looking for the top dollar. Could she make more elsewhere? Maybe, but probably not much more. At her stage in her career, she's already well aware of how much she could be making for X other companies. There are few better things to have on your resume than 'former GM CEO', even if it means she has to wait a couple of years to jump ship for more money elsewhere.
      pegghogdude
      • 1 Year Ago
      Think the retirerees and other workers should have part of the ceo's salarys then it would be more equal.We make them look good they get the money.
      ctsmith1066
      • 1 Year Ago
      But don't expect the workers to get a raise. That would be so gauche.
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dammit, she's married...I need a sugar mamma...
      Dane Grant
      • 1 Year Ago
      That money could bring more development in vehicles and more people working... how much are they really worth? Are they better then the person installing the door cards in a Chevrolet Cruze?
      omgcool
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's to hoping upper doesn't get greedy again. Take note from Sergio Marchionne! He works harder than virtually any other automotive CEO today and takes 1/20th compared to Mulally? Now there's a man with a great work ethic and proper modesty, all while appearing to have passion about the products his companies make. I am smitten with admiration of his performance with Chrysler.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sooo.... they didn\'t have money to pay the retirees health benefiot, but they have plenty of money to make sure their execs are paid better than rock stars.
        dovegraybird
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        you Sir neither know what rock stars are paid, nor how expensive those retirees benefits are.
        mdcwave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        You said it!
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      those paychecks are puny compared to the guys that built that worthless healthcare website.
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