Business / Corporate

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn tops ¥1 billion in pay for first time

Bloomberg

Nissan Motor Co. President Carlos Ghosn, Japan’s best-paid automaker executive, received more than ¥1 billion ($8 million) in salary and bonuses for the first time.

Ghosn was paid a total of ¥1.035 billion for the year that ended March 31, an increase of 4 percent from a year earlier, he said at the carmaker’s annual meeting on Tuesday in Yokohama. In dollar terms, his compensation decreased 14 percent because of the weak yen.

Nissan last month forecast a third straight year of rising profit after the weaker Japanese currency and rising demand in major markets, including the U.S., helped net income jump 18 percent last fiscal year. The company’s shares have gained 18 percent this year in Tokyo, the best performance among Japan’s eight major carmakers.

Ghosn, who is also CEO of French carmaker Renault SA, has topped the list of Japan’s best-paid executives three times since 2010, when the country’s financial regulator began requiring publicly traded companies to report the compensation of anyone earning at least ¥100 million, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.

The country’s top earner was Softbank Corp. President Nikesh Arora, who was paid about ¥16.6 billion last year, including a signing bonus and about ¥2 billion in stock-related compensation, according to filings made as of June 19.

Among the few foreigners leading a Japanese company, Ghosn, 61, earned more than four times what Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda did in the fiscal year that ended March 2014 — even as Nissan’s profit was about one-fifth of Toyota’s. Compensation figures for Toyoda and Honda Motor Co.’s Takanobu Ito, who stepped down as CEO this month, are scheduled to be disclosed later this week.

Ghosn, who has headed Nissan since becoming chief operating officer in 1999, is still outearned by his peers at American and European automakers.

The average compensation in 2014 for CEOs at comparable global automakers rose 11 percent to $28.7 million, Nissan said, citing an analysis of public data compiled by consulting firm Towers Watson.

Alan Mulally, who retired as Ford Motor Co. CEO in mid-2014, earned about $22 million last year, according to a proxy statement on the company’s website. His successor, Mark Fields, earned $18.6 million. General Motors Co. chief Mary Barra, who started the job this year, received total compensation of $16.2 million, the company said in April.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne earned �6.6 million (¥920.09 million) in salary and incentives last year. On top of that he received a �24.7 million bonus, 1.6 million restricted shares and �12 million bonus to be paid when he steps down as CEO, according to the company’s annual report.

Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn was paid �15.9 million in 2014, according to the company’s annual report.

Renault awarded Ghosn about �3.1 million in compensation for last year, according to its annual financial report.

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