Outgoing Visteon CEO Johnston to get $2.5 million payout

Michael Johnston
Outgoing Visteon Corp. CEO Michael Johnston will receive $2.5 million in severance pay when he leaves June 1, according to a report filed by the supplier with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A compensation plan approved by the Visteon board in February called for the company to give Johnston, 60, a prorated portion of a $2.5 million bonus if he left his post before year end. He was to receive the full $2.5 million if he stayed on through Dec. 31 or was fired without cause.

But the new payout reflects an amendment Visteonís board made to that deal last week when it announced Johnstonís resignation.

Visteon spokeswoman Julie Fream said the board thought the change was necessary ďto ensure an orderly transitionĒ from Johnston to his successor, current president and COO Donald Stebbins.

Johnston took home $8.9 million last year, according to calculations conducted by Equilar Inc. for Automotive News. That amount includes money Johnston made from options that vested last year but does not include options that were granted but have not yet vested.

Johnston will keep his job as Visteonís executive chairman. If he leaves that post before year end, heíll be required to give back part of his severance pay, according to the filing.

Stebbins, 50, will receive a base salary of $1.2 million, according to the SEC filing. Stebbins also will be eligible for bonuses worth as much as 115 percent and 475 percent of his salary. His pay totaled $3.48 million last year, according to Equilar.

Visteon has yet to turn an annual profit since Ford Motor Co. spun it off in 2000. The supplier posted a $372 million net loss for 2007 on global sales of $10.7 billion.

Visteon stock today closed at $4.71 a share, down 4 cents or 0.84 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $3.02 and $9.00 per share.

Visteon, of suburban Detroit, makes vehicle interiors, climate control systems and electronics. It ranks No. 12 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America with North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $3.43 billion in 2007.

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