General Motors CEO Mary Barra. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Bloomberg) — General Motors Co. paid Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra $16.2 million in mostly stock-based compensation for 2014 as the automaker fell short on some of its board’s performance targets.

The first-year CEO got $1.57 million in salary, a $2.07 million performance-based cash incentive and $11.8 million in stock awards, GM said in a proxy statement Friday. The incentive pay fell $728,000 short of its potential goal. Her total tripled from 2013, when she was a GM executive vice president.

Barra, who became CEO in January 2014, and her team spent much of her first year dealing with GM’s ignition-switch recall. The executives missed some of their target pay because the largest U.S. automaker fell short on four key goals. The cash incentives were based on 2014 performance and the stock awards on measures from last year to 2016.

“It’s good that the bulk of compensation comes from performance-based pay,” said Maryann Keller, an independent auto industry consultant in Greenwich, Connecticut. “The question is, how easy are the targets to hit?”

Compensation in 2013 for Barra, 53, was $5.23 million. Dan Akerson, the previous CEO, was paid $9.07 million for 2013, according to the proxy.

GM shares fell 15 percent last year, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 11 percent. The automaker’s net income declined 26 percent to $3.95 billion.

Missed goals

With GM no longer subject to government-mandated pay restrictions, the Detroit-based company is moving toward an incentive-based structure that includes elements of cash and stock. The top executives are measured on profitability, global market share, quality and automotive free cash flow. They missed in all four areas, coming close to the goal on cash flow.

Even with a three-year vesting period for the stock awards, GM should consider tying some executive pay to longer-term targets, Keller said. In can take years for strategies with vehicles and technology to bear fruit, so companies should measure the performance of those investments, she said.

“Some decisions Mary Barra will make will take longer than three years to show results,” Keller said. “You don’t want to encourage short-term thinking in the auto industry.”

Other executives

The company paid President Dan Ammann a total of $8.49 million, including salary of $990,530, incentive pay of $925,000 and stock awards of $6.31 million. His compensation rose from $5.26 million for 2013, when he was chief financial officer.

CFO Charles Stevens received $4.89 million, including a salary of $691,667, incentive pay of $647,500 and $3.18 million in stock awards. Total compensation for Mark Reuss, executive vice president of global product development, was $9.48 million, with $846,212 in salary, $786,300 in incentive pay and stock awards of $7.46 million.

GM also gave out retention awards to some executives, including former General Counsel Michael Millikin, who is to retire from the company in July. Millikin was awarded $2 million of restricted stock units in March 2014 to stay on at GM. His total compensation for last year was $5.77 million, according to the proxy.

Reuss also got a retention award of $2 million of the restricted stock units, and Karl-Thomas Neumann, president of GM’s European operations, was given $1 million of the units.

Millikin attracted criticism last year after an internal investigation said lawyers in his department failed to act quickly to alert top management that the ignition switch in GM’s small cars was failing and had been linked to a growing number of deaths.

The automaker said in the proxy that “retaining Mr. Millikin’s expertise and counsel during the period of leadership team transition was critical to the company’s overall operations given his extensive GM experience and expertise in both domestic and international operations.”

Copyright 2018 Bloomberg. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?

Dig Deeper



Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and
  • Exclusive discounts on and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.