Daimler Decreases Chief Zetsche’s Pay After Record Profit

Daimler AG Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche
Daimler AG Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche. Photographer: Guenter Schiffmann/Bloomberg

Daimler AG, the world’s third-largest maker of luxury cars, reduced the compensation of Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche even after posting record profit in 2011.

Zetsche’s reward for 2011 is currently calculated at 8.65 million euros ($11.5 million), including fixed salary, bonuses and long-term stock options, down from 8.69 million euros for 2010, Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler said today in its annual report. Zetsche’s base salary rose to 2.01 million euros from 1.53 million euros.

The executive’s compensation for 2011 could increase if Daimler performs better than planned in the coming years. A bonus, which Daimler values at 2.04 million euros, will be paid next year and could fall or rise depending on the stock’s performance compared with other auto companies. A stock-option program, valued at 2.57 million euros, will be disbursed in four years based on how the company’s earnings and shares fare.

Daimler, which is also the world’s largest maker of heavy-duty vehicles, reported record net income of 6.03 billion euros in 2011, 29 percent more than the previous year. Still, Mercedes-Benz fell to third in luxury-car sales behind Volkswagen AG’s Audi, prompting Zetsche to vow to retake the segment’s top spot from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.

Zetsche’s contract expires at the end of 2013 after the carmaker extended it by three years in February 2010. The highest-paid board member after Zetsche was Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber, whose total compensation was 3.68 million euros, down from 3.69 million euros for 2010.

Pay for the entire management board, which was expanded to seven last year with the addition of Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt to oversee legal and compliance issues, rose to 28 million euros in 2011 from 25 million euros a year earlier.

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