Record earnings and aggressive cost cutting at General Motors earned a hefty raise for Chairman Jack Smith in 1997.
But his pay placed him last among Big 3 chairmen.
During a year in which GM posted net income of $6.5 billion worldwide, Smith received annual compensation of $4.3 million, including salary and savings plan contributions, along with a $2.5 million bonus and other annual compensation, according to the GM proxy statement released Monday, April 20.
Smith's compensation amounted to a 23.3 percent increase over his $3.5 million paycheck in 1996. But it was less than half of the earnings of Ford Motor Co. Chairman Alex Trotman, who received $10.7 million. Chrysler Corp. Chairman Robert Eaton received $4.9 million.
Smith's comparatively modest pay follows a year in which net income from GM's European operations slid 35 percent and the company posted one-time charge-offs of $5.5 billion. The largest single portion of that sum, $2.4 billion, was attributed to 'unprofitable vehicles and components.'
The rest was due to capacity reductions, assets pending sale and lower-than-forecasted residual values on leases.
Vice Chairman Harry Pearce earned $2.1 million, up 13.3 percent from 1996. Lou Hughes and Rick Wagoner, executive vice presidents, each received $1.98 million in 1997, 11.5 percent more than 1996.
Executive Vice President J.T. Battenberg III received $2.0 million last year.