He would be 1st union rep to become a director for the automaker

UAW's Ashton nominated for GM board

He would be 1st union rep to become a director for the automaker

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton has been the union's chief GM negotiator since 2010.
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DETROIT -- UAW Vice President Joe Ashton has been nominated to become the first representative from the union to join General Motors' board of directors, the company said in its proxy statement filed today.

Ashton, the UAW's chief GM negotiator since 2010, was nominated to join the board by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which owns about 140 million GM shares.

Ashton, 65, plans to retire in June, GM said in a statement. If elected at GM's June 10 annual shareholders meeting, he would join the board of directors in August.

“Joe brings a wealth of knowledge from his work across many industries, especially his deep understanding how labor strategy can contribute to a company’s success,” GM Chairman Tim Solso said in a statement.

Girsky nomination

Steve Girsky, who stepped down in January from his post as GM's vice chairman and head of corporate strategy, has been the retiree health care trust’s representative on GM's board since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. The board has nominated Girsky to remain a director.

Ashton is a Philadelphia native who joined the UAW in 1969 and has been a member of the UAW's international staff since 1986. He is executive vice president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and a former director of the Western New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Ashton would become GM's 12th board member. Ten of the 12 would be nonemployee directors.

Executive compensation

GM also reaffirmed in its proxy statement that it expects to pay CEO Mary Barra $14.4 million in 2014. GM reported that figure two months early, in February, to "correct misconceptions" about her pay.

Some media outlets had criticized GM for paying Barra less than her predecessor, Dan Akerson, even though the company explained that a major piece of her overall compensation -- long-term incentives -- was not scheduled to be disclosed until the April proxy filing.

Barra will be paid a salary of $1.6 million with a short-term incentive target of $2.8 million and a long-term incentive target of $10 million. GM's long-term incentive plan is subject to shareholder approval at the June meeting.

Akerson received total compensation of $9 million in 2013, which GM said was in the bottom 10 percent of a comparison group of 20 Fortune 100 companies. Caps on GM's executive compensation had been in place until the U.S. Treasury sold its final shares of the company in December.

GM President Dan Ammann's total compensation is projected to be $6.8 million in 2014, including a $4.6 million long-term incentive, GM said in the statement. GM CFO Chuck Stevens is projected to be paid $4 million this year, including a long-term incentive of $2.4 million.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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