VW CEO Mueller's pay package soars on record group profit

Mueller is pictured at the automaker's annual earnings news conference in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo credit: Reuters

BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group's record earnings drove up CEO Matthias Mueller's salary package by about 40 percent last year, to 10.14 million euros ($12.47 million) in pay and benefits, the automaker said.

Mueller, 64, whose contract expires in 2020, earned almost a fifth more than the $10.6 million that Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche made for 2017, when Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand beat rivals Audi and BMW in global luxury sales for a second year.

VW Group nearly doubled its 2017 operating profit even as it pushes a costly strategic shift to electric and self-driving cars and grapples with its emissions scandal.

A year ago, the company introduced new compensation rules for managers to curb investor criticism over big bonuses paid to executives in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal.

In 2016, Mueller had earned $9 million under VW's then backward-looking remuneration system which allowed bonuses to be partly based on VW's performance over the previous two years.

Under the new rules, the automaker's supervisory board capped total pay for its CEO at $12.3 million and other top managers at $6.8 million.

Under Germany's HGB commercial code, overall compensation of VW Group's top executive board jumped 27 percent to $62 million last year from $48.9 million a year earlier, VW said.

Sources at VW said Mueller's salary package exceeded the $12.3 million limit because of perks and retirement provisions that are usually included under HGB rules. Without those, the CEO would have earned about $11.7 million.

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