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Nissan Motor to Pay Directors Four Times More Than Toyota

Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn
Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn speaks during a meeting in Smyrna, Tennessee. Photographer: Gary Tramontina/Bloomberg

Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s third-largest automaker, plans to hand directors average pay about four times that of Toyota Motor Corp. and almost three times that of Honda Motor Co. for the fiscal year that ended in March.

Nissan proposes to pay 12 directors, including Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, an average of 141 million yen ($1.5 million), according to a June 5 statement from the Yokohama-based company. Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, aims to pay an average of 37.5 million yen to each of its 38 directors, while Honda will pay 21 directors an average of 48.3 million yen, the two companies said separately.

While Nissan’s executive compensation plan outstrips its two biggest Japanese rivals, its profit for the fiscal year lagged behind. The company’s net income in the 12 months ended March 31 was 42.4 billion yen, compared with 209.5 billion yen at Toyota and 268.4 billion at Honda. Nissan’s rapid recovery from a loss a year earlier may be a factor in deciding pay, said Satoru Takada, an analyst at TIW Inc. in Tokyo.

A more international corporate culture because of its alliance with Renault SA may also help explain Nissan’s higher pay level, Takada said.

The three car companies will seek approval for their remuneration plans at annual shareholder meetings later his month. Toyota, Honda and Nissan all confirmed the figures.

Stock Option

Toyota also plans to give 38 directors stock options with a combined value of 593 million yen, an average of 15.6 million yen for each recipient. Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa said stock options aren’t included in the figures, while Honda didn’t provide details on stock options.

The pay proposal from Honda, Japan’s second-largest carmaker, includes a 15 million yen average bonus. Nissan and Toyota, which made losses in the year ended March 2009, plan no bonus payments, the companies said.

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