Nissan bigwigs paid twice as much as Honda, Toyota counterparts

Nissan, Japan's second-largest automaker, apparently believes it has a more talented executive staff than Toyota or Honda. According to company CEO Carlos Ghosn, Nissan delivers its shareholders "the best performance possible with the best talent."

Talent like that deserves to be rewarded, and Nissan is happy to put its money where its mouth is. According to Bloomberg, Nissan, the second-largest automaker in Japan, pays its executive staff at least double that of Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda.

Here are the numbers: Toyota paid an average of 41 million yen ($513,279) per executive, plus bonuses of 13 million each. Honda paid an average of 31 million yen ($388,089) per executive, plus bonuses of 15 million yen each. Nissan paid an average of 186.4 million yen ($2.3 million) per executive, which doesn't include a total of 194 million yen of share appreciation rights divided up amongst the top seven execs.

Ghosn earned more money than any other Japanese CEO (at least among companies that report such figures) with a total of 891 million yen, which translates at current exchange rates to a $11.1 million. A heap of cash to be sure, but still shy of the $27 million Alan Mulally, America's top-paid auto executive, made last year, not including uncashed stock option bonuses.

While it could be argued that Nissan's execs deserve such compensation – the company posted a net income of 31 billion yen for the first three months of the year while Toyota posted a loss – the pay scale actually appears to follow a similar format as previous years.

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