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VW’s Winterkorn Earns $23 Million as Best-Paid German CEO

Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn, who led the world’s second-largest carmaker to a record profit last year, earned 17.5 million euros ($23 million) to top the rankings as best-paid DAX Index CEO.

Winterkorn’s total compensation for 2011 increased 87 percent from 2010’s 9.33 million euros, Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen said today. His earnings included an 11 million-euro bonus.

Winterkorn’s pay, which was the highest among CEOs of the 30 companies that comprise Germany’s benchmark index last year, is a recognition of the carmaker’s “clear earnings advancements” under his leadership, Horst Neumann, personnel chief, said at the company’s annual press conference. Winterkorn took over as CEO in January 2007.

VW’s earnings before interest and taxes gained 59 percent last year to 11.3 billion euros. Winterkorn today forecast stable profit this year as new versions of the Audi A3 and VW Golf help offset slumping demand for cars in Europe.

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche’s pay fell slightly last year to 8.65 million euros, even after posting record results. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG will release salary details for its executives tomorrow. Linde AG CEO Wolfgang Reitzle earned 6.85 million euros in 2011, while Merck KGaA chief Karl-Ludwig Kley took in 4.2 million euros, according to those companies’ annual reports.

Deutsche Bank AG CEO Josef Ackermann’s 2011 compensation hasn’t been released yet. He earned less than 10 million euros in 2010, according to the bank’s annual report for that year.

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