Gabriel Attal, the spokesman for the French government, which holds 6.15 percent of Stellantis through state-owned bank Bpifrance, told a press briefing the figures were not "normal" and showed there was a need for more regulation at the European level.
Jean-Pierre Mercier, a union representative for the hard-left CGT union, called the package "indecent and revolting," while CFDT representative Christine Virassamy urged politicians to take urgent measures to cap executive salaries.
President Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European economic liberal, and far-right nationalist challenger Marine Le Pen have qualified for what promises to be a tightly fought presidential election runoff on April 24.
"These situations contribute and, unfortunately, lead to citizens taking up extreme positions during elections," Virassamy said in a statement.
Stellantis had in February reported a 2021 net profit that close to tripled year on year to 13.4 billion euros. It voted Wednesday to pay out 3.3 billion euros in dividends.
The group's largest trade unions did not immediately comment on Tavares' pay package.
Tavares' 2021 compensation is expected to make him the highest-paid automotive CEO in Europe. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess earned just under 8 million euros in 2020.
In the U.S., GM CEO Mary Barra earned $23.7 million in 2020 (about 21.9 million euros at current exchange rates).
Automotive News Europe has calculated that if Tavares achieved all the targets of his compensation incentives and plans, he would be entitled to receive more than 220 million euros by 2026.
Former Renault Group CEO Carlos Ghosn also faced criticism over his pay from the French government.
Ghosn was simultaneously CEO of both Renault and alliance partner Nissan for a number of years, and drew a multimillion-dollar compensation package from both automakers.
It was reportedly the prospect of reduction in pay from Nissan that led to Ghosn’s alleged involvement in what Japanese prosecutors say was an effort to hide millions more in compensation.
Ghosn has denied the allegations since his arrest in 2018, and he remains in Lebanon after fleeing there at the end of 2019 rather than face trial in Japan.
Reuters contributed to this report