Bailout Watch 575: Canadians Demand GM and Chrysler Disclose BOD Members' Pay and Perks

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Her neighbors to the south may not recognize the fact (even parenthetically), but Canada kicked-in as-yet-uncounted billions in federal funds to keep the Chrysler and GM zombies in a vertical position. Whatever the final tally, the Motown subsidy was the largest bailout in Canadian history. In exchange, they received a seat on both automakers’ Board of Directors. Ottawa and Toronto chose Carol Stephenson, dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, to bop on down to RenCen to see what’s shaking. Auburn Hills hosts George Gosbee of Tristone Capital. OK, so how much are they getting paid for their time? They ain’t saying, exactly. And Canadians are not happy. Specifically, the Edmonton Journal:

Chrysler and GM refuse to disclose their compensation—along with all other board members—is an outrage and insult to citizens on both sides of the border.

To be precise, GM admits with comical simplicity only that board members are paid a “minimum of $200,000” a year plus a “free car,” which we assume is not a loaded Aveo. Chrysler, incredibly, still declines to reveal any financial information about board remuneration, citing privacy issues.

It gets worse.

While [Canada’s GM rep Carol] Stephenson-––who sits on a number of other government and corporate boards and will retain her post as dean––-will receive a base cash payment of $200,000 and a company vehicle, Chrysler has refused to reveal compensation for its board of directors. As well, both companies refused news media requests to release details of salaries for its Canadian CEOs.

Once upon a time, GM CEO Fritz Henderson swore under oath that the New GM would be transparent in all its dealings. While Fiat’s Sergio Machionne made no such pledge re: New Chrysler, is it too much to ask that these taxpayer-supported, not-to-say-nationalized automakers open their books to the people who made it possible for them to have books which they can open? Apparently so.

Which raises the inevitable question: what else are they hiding?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Nick Nick on Jul 31, 2009
    Chrysler, incredibly, still declines to reveal any financial information about board remuneration, citing privacy issues. Interesting really because the salaries of everyone working for the provincial government making more than $100,000/year has their salaries posted on a government website, for the sake of transparency. unlike people like me who have been planning for the evapouration of the CPP and a functionally nonexistent corporate plan Hey me too! Yes, those tax cuts had a certain visceral appeal but from a pragmatic point of view...bad idea.
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jul 31, 2009
    Yes, those tax cuts had a certain visceral appeal but from a pragmatic point of view…bad idea. They do sound nice, don't they? I remember my boss getting hot and bothered about the prospect of them, but he makes a good three times my income. Income tax cuts are not evident or useful unless you're well up the wealth chain, and cuts to them are exclusively gifts to the rich as upper middle, middle and lower classes don't really notice a few bucks off each paycheque. The only people who do notice them, unfortunately, also write articles in newspapers. Or get elected to office. Or know people who are elected to office. Or are members of the Cato or Fraser Institutes. Or are just loudmouths. Or all of the above. Now, the sales tax cut, that's something that all classes do notice, and one that the government should have kept in reserve until they needed to provide some quick economic stimulus. Cutting the GST in the middle of the recession might have been debatable given the cost of stimulus, but you could made a case. Cutting it when times were still reasonably good, and thusly gutting revenue just as we were tipping into a recession was catastrophically stupid. It would be like implementing Cash for Clunkers in 2007. The problem is that now we're out of options. Increasing the sales tax---or any tax---would be political and possibly economic suicide. I have no idea why the opposition parties aren't ripping the government a new one over this, except possibly because they're cowards about being labelled as tax-friendly. I'm all for government intervention, but intervention for the sake of ideological purity or public relations claptrap is a silly thing to do. On a more topical note, I'm surprised that GM isn't disclosing this. They're even more a public company now than they were previously. Disclosure should be the name of the game.
  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.
  • Wolfwagen I expect Renault to be less popular than Fiat
  • ToolGuy Helium-3, baby!
  • Roman Our 1999 Pontiac Sunfire Gt is still running without any issues. 25 years and counting.