GM CEOs pay halved to $5.5 million

Updated: Apr 30 2006, 05:50am hrs
General Motors Corps chief executive saw his 2005 compensation almost halved from a year earlier, the company disclosed late last week, on the same day he promised shareholders to turn around GMs North American operations and apologised for accounting errors. CEO Rick Wagoner made $5.5 million in 2005, down from $10.1 million in 2004, GM said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In a letter to shareholders, Wagoner called GMs 2005 loss of $10.6 billion unsustainable, but said the automaker has enough cash and time to see itself through a turnaround. Wagoner also said the company will focus on increasing transparency in its accounting.

A recent spate of accounting errors prompted the automaker to restate earnings going back several years. GM is under investigation by the SEC for issues ranging from accounting for sales of precious metals to the way it booked credits from suppliers.

The recent discovery of prior-year accounting errors has been extremely disappointing and embarrassing to all of us, the letter said.

GM, which has been struggling with high labour costs, is in the middle of a sweeping restructuring, as it slashes 30,000 jobs and closes a dozen plants. The automaker also halved its dividend earlier this year and cut top executive pay.