For CEOs in the auto industry, hard times didn't necessarily translate to low pay in 2007. That was especially true for CEOs of parts suppliers.
Take Alexander Cutler of Eaton Corp., a maker of truck and automotive parts. He was the industry's top-earning CEO, according to Automotive News' annual executive compensation survey of about 35 publicly traded automakers, parts suppliers and dealership groups in North America. Equilar Inc. compiled the data.
Cutler's total compensation rose from $14.3 million in 2006 to $24.5 million in 2007. Nearly half of his compensation last year came from exercised stock options. He also pocketed $9.5 million in bonus and incentive pay.
Exercised stock options and awards were behind the hefty compensation in 2007 for Cutler — and for several other supplier CEOs.
The CEOs who ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 4 in 2007 total compensation also saw big stock-related increases: John Plant at TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., Robert Keegan at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Christopher Kearney at SPX Corp.
But the stock market gives, and it takes away. John Barth of Johnson Controls Inc., No. 9, saw a drop of almost $17 million in total compensation. In 2006, he was the one celebrating a big stock-related gain. In 2007, he recorded none.
Roger Penske, No. 33, of Penske Automotive Group Inc. also took a hit. His compensation dropped from nearly $16 million in 2006 to $1.1 million last year. His stock award and option gains totaled more than $15 million in 2006 but just over $349,000 last year.
The median compensation for CEOs in the survey was $4.1 million, slightly higher than the $4.0 million median 2006 compensation.
In 2007, nine automotive industry CEOs received at least $10 million. That's up from eight in 2006.
All but one of the nine worked for suppliers. The lone automaker CEO to make the list was Ford Motor Co.'s Alan Mulally.