Dan Ammann — the former GM president who took over for Kyle Vogt as CEO of Cruise on Jan. 1 — was awarded 16,914 restricted stock units for common shares of Cruise and stock options for 101,485 common shares of Cruise by the unit's board, GM disclosed in its SEC filing.
Each restricted stock unit carries a value of $1,515, while the options have value only if the underlying stock tops the $1,515 strike price, according to the SEC filing.
Ammann stands to make more than $25 million over the next decade if Cruise experiences a change in ownership or is listed publicly, according to a Reuters review of GM's regulatory filing.
"Mr. Ammann's compensation plan is consistent with CEO benchmarks from tech companies with similar market cap to Cruise and is heavily weighted toward the attainment of specific technology and commercial targets," GM spokesman Tom Henderson told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Ammann's appointment as CEO of the operation was touted as GM's "next step toward commercializing autonomous vehicle technology."
Roughly 25 percent of GM Cruise is controlled by Honda Motor Co. and SoftBank Vision Fund, a prominent technology investment firm. SoftBank in May 2018 acquired its 19.6 percent stake by investing $2.25 billion in GM Cruise, which includes Cruise and Strobe Inc., a lidar company GM acquired in October 2017. Honda followed suit in October by announcing plans to invest $2.75 billion for a 5.7 percent stake.
On a conference call after GM's earnings report last week, Barra said Cruise is making "rapid progress" on launching a self-driving ride-hailing fleet in 2019.
"Everything is moving forward in a very positive fashion," Barra said, referring to 2019 as a "critical year" for Cruise.
It has been more than a year since GM petitioned NHTSA, the nation's top safety regulator, for permission to deploy its fourth-generation self-driving vehicles as part of a ride-hailing fleet. The vehicles, which lack manual controls such as steering wheels and pedals, would need a waiver from around 16 requirements under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to be operated on U.S. roadways.
Barra said there was no update on that petition. The ride-hailing service is expected to start in San Francisco, where Cruise has its headquarters, though that hasn't been confirmed.
Barra said the company is "in good position" and capable of launching the service with its third-generation vehicles, which have manual controls.
A separate test of autonomous vehicles was expected last year in New York City, but didn't occur.
GM said in its earnings report that it spent $728 million on the business in 2018, vs. the roughly $1 billion it had forecast. Barra attributed the lower expenses in part to "incredibly good cost controls" by Vogt, who became the unit's chief technology officer Jan 1.
A GM spokesman said the lower spending was because of "nothing unusual" and that Cruise is "focused on acquiring talent and making progress on its plan."
For 2019, GM again expects to spend roughly $1 billion on Cruise, CFO Dhivya Suryadevara told investors.