By on November 13, 2009

What? (courtesy

Automotive News [sub] reports that President Obama’s Pay Czar has done an about face. Kenneth Feinberg pledged to remove the $500,000 salary cap for NEW executives hired for TARP-recipients—if he’s convinced that a rule-busting pay boost would help the bailout queens return U.S. taxpayer’s money. Feinberg’s climb-down comes just two days after New GM’s federally-appointed Chairman of the Board said that Uncle Sam’s pay caps could be, indeed should be, “modified.” Of course, Ed Whitacre didn’t make his suggestion directly. Nor did Feinberg reveal the locus of his “come to Jesus with cash” moment. “[Feinberg] said the automotive firms did not appeal his rulings. But he said he would be open to requests to hire in new executives at competitive pay. ‘If General Motors or any other company wants to bring someone in laterally — laterally — and competitive pay packages require that lateral hires get certain competitive pay, what have you, we’re perfectly willing to examine that.'” So the new rule: GM can hire someone for more than $500,000 in cash per year if that person was already making $500,000 per year doing the same job, only better (one would hope). Which would exclude, uh, no one. And create mucho resentment at that special place where RenCen’s express elevators ascend to glory. More Feinbergian 180 after the jump, and a mystery to be solved . . .

Feinberg said he would measure his success in determining appropriate pay levels for the bailed-out firms by their repayment of taxpayer money.

“There is nothing more important than the fact that these companies repay,” Feinberg said. “The secretary of the Treasury has made it very clear that we must keep these companies in business, thriving, so that the taxpayer can get repaid.”

So what was the point of the pay caps in the first place? Street theater, of course. But still, you’d expect the show to last more than four weeks. Never mind; I thought pay caps were a dangerously stupid idea, even for a nationalized multi-national. Performance requirements, that’s what the TARPIE-fed suits need. More importantly, transparency! After all, if we know what they’re doing for the money—OUR MONEY—-we can know if they deserve our support. Sort of like, I dunno, owners of any other publicly-held company.

So here’s what I want to know: who is the mystery man within GM ranks who gets paid more than $500,000? We now know GM CEO Fritz “I’m a Goofy Goofer” Henderson is getting $950,000 per year. BUT WHO IS THE OTHER GUY?

Cash salaries for the top GM executives were cut by 31 percent, and only one unnamed executive besides Henderson will be paid more than $500,000 for 2009.

As a taxpayer and GM owner, I demand to know which other GM suit is more equal than the others. Is it Lutz? Tell me it’s not Lutz. I know it’s Lutz. It’s Lutz, right? Gotta be. The Pay Czar exempts the failed Car Czar. It’s . . . kismet. Tell me I’m wrong. No? FOIA you, then.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

8 Comments on “Pay Czar Removes Salary Cap for GM’s New Hires; Who Is GM’s $500k Man?...”

  • avatar

    I think it’s obvious that the other guy is Lutz.  This gives Whitaker what he needs to bring in the management that GM needs, it’s should be easy to bring in someone already making $10-20mil/year (when you throw in the possible stock rewards if they pull it off). 

    Now the next questions TTAC should be asking is who that person will be?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think it’s necessarily easy.  From an outsider’s perspective, GM is potentially toxic.  If you’re a rock-star executive, especially an up-and-coming one, you might not want an organization as problematic as GM’s on your CV.
      Whitacre et al would have to clean a whole lot of house to address the company’s terminally poisonous culture, which would in turn throw the company solidly into chaos.   I wouldn’t envy anyone walking into that mess, either.
      It’s kind of sad, really.  Had someone on the BoD starting putting the screws to GM’s management a decade or so ago, this could have been done gradually and relatively painlessly.  Modern corporate governance makes government oversight look forthright, open and effective.

  • avatar

    It’s me.  I am… Spartacus.

  • avatar

    How long before Henderson is history, my guess is before year’s end.

  • avatar

    Obama needs to grow a pair and put his foot down. 

  • avatar

    It’s “Goofy Goober”, actually.  Man, I watch too much Spongebob…

  • avatar

              Social workers do a perfectly acceptable job of handing out taxpayer money to predominantly Democratic contituencies, and for a whole lot less than half a million a year.

  • avatar

    I remain unconvinced that more money attracts top talent.   If that’s true, why did GM go into BK?    Why has GM lost so much market share the past  4 decades?

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • dal20402: The CVT with a V6 is a fine CUV powertrain. I will die on this hill. In non-sport applications, the...
  • ToolGuy: So a lot of it is due to the “participation rate” – i.e., how many Seniors take the...
  • Michael500: 6000SUX-Big is back, because bigger is better. 8.2 MPG, An American Tradition.
  • FreedMike: If you bought last week, you’re not getting killed.
  • FreedMike: So…Ford’s not dumping the stock altogether, which would probably kill Rivian. This feels like...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber