Yokohama: Nissan Motor Co chief executive Carlos Ghosn made ¥982 million ($12.1 million) last year, likely making him the highest-paid executive at a Japanese company again, topping the ¥863 million earned by his Sony Corp counterpart, Howard Stringer.
Ghosn’s total compensation, including stock options, rose 10% from last year, while Stringer’s increased 6%. The Brazilian-born Frenchman and the Briton were the top two highest-paid CEOs among listed Japanese companies last year.
Ghosn’s remuneration far exceeds that of his counterparts at domestic rivals Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co. Toyota president Akio Toyoda received ¥136 million for the year to March, while Honda CEO Takanobu Ito made ¥130 million.
Ghosn has defended Nissan’s pay scale as following a benchmark for multinational companies to attract talent in the global auto industry.
“If you compare our pay with Toyota’s or Honda’s, then obviously there are differences,” he told shareholders gathered near Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama on Wednesday. “We are following global metrics.”
Ghosn’s compensation falls short of Ford Motor Co CEO Alan Mulally’s $25.84 million at the top of the auto industry, followed by Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne with $17.55 million.
Volkswagen AG’s Martin Winterkorn made $12.39 million, and Daimler AG’s Dieter Zetsche took home $11.69 million. Ghosn made another €1.2 million ($1.7 million) at Nissan partner Renault SA, which he also heads.
Sony, which logged its third straight net loss in the year ended 31 March, said the bulk of Stringer’s compensation includes options tied to the share price. Shares in the maker of PlayStation video game consoles and Vaio PCs have not reached a high enough level for the former journalist to cash in on the options, it said.
Stringer’s cash salary and bonuses for the year to 31 March came to ¥345 million, down 15% from the previous year’s ¥408 million. The number of options issued remained the same at 500,000.
Ghosn, who announced a new six-year growth plan calling for a global market share and operating margin of 8% this week, was approved for an additional two-year term as Nissan president on Wednesday.