Dan Akerson Wants a Big Raise, Washington Sugar Daddy Not Sure Yet, GM Says: Not True!

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

GM’s CEO Dan Akerson asked for a big raise. He thinks his work at GM is worth a paycheck of $11.1 million this year, up 20 percent from last year, Reuters reports, citing documents. The embarrassing part: Akerson and GM have to ask its white House sugar daddy for approval.

As part of GM’s government-funded bailout, the salaries of GM executives must be authorized by a special paymaster from the federal government. The request for a raise comes at an inopportune time.

Last month, the special paymaster faced strong criticism from the TARP Special Inspector General . The report said the government “continues to award excessive pay packages.” It also flogged executives who “continue to lack an appreciation for their extraordinary situations and fail to view themselves through the lenses of companies substantially owned by the U.S. Government.”

The report published the 2012 pay packages of executives of bailed-out companies and said:

“In stark contrast, the 2011 median household income of U.S. taxpayers who fund these companies was approximately $50,000.”

Akerson’s request for a pay raised is part of documents that were published a day before a U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would be looking into whether the U.S. Treasury has allowed excessive executive pay at companies aided by the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Meanwhile in Germany, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn applied for, and received, a salary reduction. Based on Volkswagen’s record $29 billion profit, Winterkorn was entitled to a bonus that would have raised his 2012 remuneration to €20 million ($26 million.) Last week, Volkswagen’s supervisory board ruled that Winterkorn will be paid a total of 14.5 million euros ($19.17 million) for 2012 in fixed salary, bonuses and incentives, compared with 17.5 million a year earlier.

Winterkorn’s private taxi

A U.S. Treasury Department official said no determinations has yet been made for the 2013 compensation of GM execs. Once the government is out at GM, no more embarrassing requests for raises. Also, GM execs will get their jets back. This must be the most embarrassing part: While RenCen execs must fly commercial, Winterkorn has his private Airbus A319CJ, along with a fleet of Dassault Falcons.

In the meantime, GM spokesman, manager of News Relations and GM Media Online, Alan Adler said:

“Reports that General Motors has requested an increase in Dan Akerson’s 2013 compensation are false. 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.

Unfortunately, someone who obviously did not understand the compensation request leaked the information in a way that misrepresented the truth in order to score political points on the eve of a congressional hearing.”

Adler asked “that media outlets, including TTAC, that reported the false story correct the record.” Done!

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Asdf Asdf on Feb 26, 2013

    Why not just pay Akerson to go away? I'm sure it'll be cheaper in the long run.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 26, 2013

      I thought he was going to leave when he turned 65. His 65th birthday is in October. Is he leaving then, or at the end of the year? How much longer will we have Dan Akerson to kick around? I'm bored with him already.

  • Vcficus Vcficus on Mar 01, 2013

    Bertel's not alone or new on this subject... Magazines have been running the "What's wrong with GM?" cover since the early 1980s. When Roger B. came in 1980 they had 46% market share; when he left they were at 35% and dropping fast. The real criminals aren't the CEO's (although I think Rick Wagoner should be in the CEO Protection Program he was so bad) but the potted plant board members who let this garbage go on for 30 years. NO ONE should still be on that board who was on prior to the bankruptcy; boards need to toss management when they're not hitting their marks instead of approving their bonuses. I'm a GMI graduate from 1990 (never worked at The General though) and I'm really happy they changed their name to Kettering University... at least Boss Kettering was a real engineer, not one of the worst management studies of all time like GM since 1970.

  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
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  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.