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Posted by: David Kiley on March 24, 2009
Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally’s total compensation for 2008 dropped by 37% to $13.6 million last year. That’s still a hefty sum, considering Ford’s record losses and continued financial fragility. Meanwhile, Mulally — who, like his counterparts at General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, was excoriated by Congress and the media last November for flying a private jet to Congressional hearings — no longer flies on Ford-owned jets. But he does fly on chartered private planes.
Mulally’s pay and perks are detailed in a preliminary proxy filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. While his compensation may still seem generous for a company that lost $14.7 billion in 2008, Wall Street analysts and even harsh critics of the Detroit Big Three in Congress have credited Mulally for swiftly transforming Ford (F) into a company that, if the U.S. economy would cooperate even a little, should be ready to compete head to head with Toyota and Honda.
Ford so far has not taken loans from the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program like GM and Chrysler. Indeed, Mulally has been furiously restructuring the automaker and striking deals with bond holders and the union to avoid taking government loans or having to enter Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Mulally has agreed to take a 30 percent cut in his $2 million salary this year and next year. Though the company has sold its corporate aircraft, the CEO remains required to fly on private aircraft for personal and business travel due to security concerns, according to the Ford proxy. The automaker valued Mulally’s compensation for personal use of company and private aircraft in 2008 at $344,109, less than half the $752,203 the prior year.
Executive perks have become a particularly sensitive issue amid U.S. government bailouts aimed at reducing the impact of the recession. Ford said in its filing that Mulally’s family will be allowed to accompany him on trips when he flies on private aircraft and the company will pay the cost of coach-class commercial flights for his family when the travel is at his request.
Mulally, who became CEO in 2006, has been granted the right to remain in “temporary housing” near Ford’s headquarters, which cost the company $110,000 last year.
The automaker has said it has enough liquidity to make it through the deepest downturn in U.S. sales in 27 years without seeking emergency U.S. government loans, unless conditions worsen dramatically beyond current levels.
In addition to Mulally’s salary cut for the next two years, Ford has eliminated performance bonuses for global salaried employees and senior executives for 2009 in a “shared sacrifice” with unionized hourly workers. The UAW has agreed to concessions on overtime, holidays and other areas, changes that Ford has said push its hourly labor costs closer to parity with the U.S. operations of Japanese rivals.
Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Detroit bureau chief David Welch , Dexter Roberts and Ian Rowley bring daily scoop, keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business from around the globe. Read their take on such weighty issues as Detroit’s attempt at a comeback, Toyota’s quest for dominance and the search for an efficient car.