Ford CEO Alan Mulally isn't the only auto executive raising eyebrows with his pay. Last week at Volkswagen's annual meeting, journalists were particularly inquisitive about the 17.5 million euros paid to CEO Martin Winterkorn in 2011.
That's almost $23 million -- all in cash, and about double his pay from the year before. VW execs, unlike their U.S. counterparts, don't get any of their pay in stock.
The reporters, seemingly shocked by his yearly haul, peppered him with questions.
One asked what Winterkorn plans to do with all that money. Clearly, he's not in need of a new car, the reporter added.
Winterkorn declined comment.
Another reporter asked if auto executives are becoming the new bankers when it comes to pay.
VW's top boss gave a more detailed reply this time, saying, essentially: We have a real result we generate. Some bankers got bonuses even when the company was bankrupt.
True, VW and its top executives are delivering. Winterkorn's salary may have doubled, but so did the company's net profits last year. VW also set a global sales record in 2011: 8.3 million vehicles.
Although Winterkorn's 2010 take was considerable, it wasn't Mulally money. Mulally's total 2010 pay was $26.5 million. His total 2011 compensation has not yet been disclosed.