Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn’s pay rose to ¥987 million last fiscal year while bigger rival Toyota Motor Corp. left its CEO’s pay flat and Honda Motor Co. cut compensation.
Ghosn, 58, told his company’s annual general meeting Tuesday in Yokohama that his pay increased from the ¥982 million he earned a year earlier.
Nissan earned the most profit among Japanese carmakers last fiscal year for the first time in at least two decades, as Ghosn guided the automaker to a faster recovery than Toyota and Honda from the March 11, 2011, disasters and floods in Thailand.
“Ghosn has done an incredible job in the last 10, 12 years in turning Nissan into a very solid company again,” said Ashvin Chotai, London-based managing director of Intelligence Automotive Asia. “His salary is a small price Nissan has to pay for his success.”
Publicly traded companies in Japan are required to disclose executive pay higher than ¥100 million a year. Ghosn was the nation’s highest-paid executive in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda was paid ¥136 million for the year that ended March 31, the same as the preceding year, according to a filing Monday to the Financial Services Agency.
Honda Motor Co. President Takanobu Ito earned ¥123 million in the same period, 5 percent less than the year earlier.
In comparison, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally, the top-paid U.S. automotive industry executive in 2011, earned $29.5 million (about ¥2.35 billion), more than double Ghosn’s compensation, according to Equilar Inc., which researches executive pay.
“The executive pay in Europe and U.S. is, generally speaking, much higher than in Asia,” Chotai said. “Nissan’s performance depends more on what it does outside Japan rather than in Japan.”
For the fiscal year that ended March 31, Nissan earned ¥341.4 billion in profit, 20 percent more than Toyota and 61 percent more than Honda — the first time it has topped the Japanese auto industry, according to earnings data compiled by Bloomberg stretching back to 1992.
Ghosn, who is also CEO of Renault SA, is targeting Nissan to eventually account for 10 percent of total U.S. vehicle sales, up from 8.2 percent last year.