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December 25, 2009

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New GM CFO to get US$5.5m in stock in 2012

THE new chief financial officer at General Motors Co will receive a salary of US$750,000 next year, but he'll get up to another US$5.45 million in stock starting in 2012 if GM successfully sells shares to the public, the company said in a government filing on Wednesday.

Chris Liddell's pay package exceeds the limits imposed on companies that have received United States government aid, but an exemption was worked out with government pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, the company said.

The Treasury Department confirmed the outlines of Liddell's pay package. It also announced that Feinberg had approved a compensation package for Michael Carpenter, the head of the joint financing arm for GM and Chrysler, that will pay a base salary of US$950,000 and up to another US$8.55 million worth of stock.

Liddell's compensation package will exceed what he got at Microsoft Corp when accounting for his stock awards. His pay package at the software giant was about US$2.4 million.

Liddell, 51, will leave his job as Microsoft's CFO on Thursday and join GM next year. He is seen as a possible candidate for GM's next CEO.

GM's current CEO Ed Whitacre Jr is not earning a salary, but he receives a US$350,000 annual stipend as a board member. His predecessor Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, who was ousted earlier this month, was receiving a compensation package of nearly US$5.5 million, including a cash salary of US$950,000, under Feinberg's pay rules.

In addition to a base salary of US$750,000, Liddell will receive US$3.45 million in company stock over three years starting in 2012. He will get another stock grant of US$2 million that vests in three years and is payable in 25 percent installments for every 25 percent repayment of GM's US$6.7 billion in government loans.


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