GM Denies Seeking More Compensation for CEO in 2013

General Motors Co., the largest U.S. automaker, denied today that it is seeking increased compensation for Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson a day after reports that the company proposed an $11.1 million package.

GM is planning $82 million in compensation for its top 25 executives, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News. While the names of the GM employees were redacted, Akerson was identified as the highest-paid by a person familiar with the material who asked not to be revealed disclosing private information. Akerson was paid $7.7 million for 2011, when his target compensation was $9 million.

After a company spokesman declined to comment yesterday on the specifics of the company’s pay proposal, Detroit-based GM said it sought no change and that the request was misrepresented “to score political points on the eve of a congressional hearing.” The House Oversight Committee met today to discuss executive pay at companies whose compensation has been supervised by the Treasury.

“Reports that General Motors has requested an increase in Dan Akerson’s 2013 compensation are false,” GM said in the e-mailed statement. “In fact, Dan specifically asked to keep his compensation at the same level for 2013 as it was in 2012 and 2011. That amount of $9 million is what the company submitted to the Office of the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation.”

Panel’s View

The House panel “is not focused on the issue of whether or not the total compensation for the CEO of GM was $9 million or $11 million,” Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the oversight committee, said in a telephone interview. The group is examining why executives at bailed-out companies are receiving millions of dollars after President Barack Obama said in 2009 that he would put tighter limits on their compensation, Hill said.

Ally Financial Inc., formerly GM’s lending arm, wants to pay CEO Michael Carpenter $9.6 million, according to another document obtained by Bloomberg.

Pay for executives at seven bailed-out companies, including GM and Ally, was scrutinized and restricted by the Treasury starting in 2009. American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Chrysler Group LLC and Chrysler Financial Corp. have left the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and are no longer subject to the department’s pay rulings.

‘GM Complies’

Greg Martin, a spokesman for GM, yesterday declined to comment on the specifics of the company’s pay proposal.

“GM complies with all TARP restrictions and special master decisions while we focus on driving solid business results for the company,” Martin said yesterday in a telephone interview. “We’ve provided the committee with the information it has requested and will continue to cooperate with the committee.”

The Detroit News reported about the Akerson pay issue yesterday.

Akerson is paid considerably less than Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Co., the largest U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy in 2009. Mulally’s 2011 compensation rose 11 percent to $29.5 million. A few weeks before Ford revealed Mulally’s full-year compensation, the company gave him $58.3 million in stock as a reward for the automaker’s turnaround.

Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and heavy trucks, cut CEO Dieter Zetsche’s pay 5.8 percent amid a reduction in managers’ bonuses as the world’s third-biggest maker of luxury cars fell behind competitors in sales and dropped profit goals. His total compensation for 2012 totaled 8.15 million euros ($10.7 million).

Volkswagen AG said last week that CEO Martin Winterkorn will receive 17 percent less compensation.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, paid President Akio Toyoda 136 million yen ($1.48 million). Nissan Motor Co. paid CEO Carlos Ghosn $10.7 million.