For posting a record net profit of $2.97 billion in the just-ended fiscal year, Nissan Motor Co. directors rewarded the company's top nine executives with a 50 percent increase in their annual bonuses while raising the stockholder dividend 14 percent.
The shareholders howled, which was remarkable for Japan, even given the discrepancy between the two rewards. That 50 percent increase in bonuses means that President Carlos Ghosn and his team will split a total of $3 million for engineering one of the most impressive turnarounds in corporate history.
By American standards, that's not excessive, it's laughable.
But for American executives and shareholders, the scale of the Nissan bonuses should be an eye opener. Achievement, not tenure, must be the yardstick for measuring reasonable executive compensation.