To examine compensation trends for CEOs and other select executives, Automotive News asked Equilar Inc., an executive compensation data firm, to compile and analyze pay data from corporate filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The data prepared by Equilar includes information for leading automotive-sector companies selected by Automotive News.
For each executive, total compensation is calculated as the sum of base salary, cash bonus payouts, gains from option exercises, gains from the vesting of stock awards and other compensation. Other compensation typically includes benefits and perquisites.
Base salary, bonus payout and other compensation values are taken directly from the Summary Compensation Table of each company's proxy statement. Information on gains from option exercises and gains from the vesting of stock awards is taken from the Option Exercises and Stock Vested Table of the same document.
Readers should note that gains from option exercises and the vesting of stock awards do not necessarily mirror the amount that an executive earned from selling stock, if any, during the fiscal year. Once options are exercised and stock awards vest, they may be retained by the executive as common shares of stock.
The total compensation figures in this survey will not match the value reported in the SCT because the SCT includes the grant date value of equity awards whereas this survey includes the realized value. This survey also excludes the pension and deferred compensation column in the SCT, which may cause a further disparity in the total compensation figures.
Change in pay for each executive is calculated using compensation data from the prior fiscal year. These data are collected in the same fashion described above. For some CEOs, principally recent hires or newly promoted executives, change in pay is listed as "N.A."
In addition to annual compensation data, information on executive retirement plans is provided. The amounts listed in the pension column reflect the lump-sum value of accumulated pension benefits accrued by an executive. Amounts listed in the deferred compensation column reflect the year-end balance held by an executive in nonqualified deferred compensation accounts.