Daimler's Zetsche sees pay double to $12M as China sales lift profit
GENEVA (Bloomberg) – Daimler AG's CEO Dieter Zetsche's compensation more than doubled in 2010 after surging sales in China helped the automaker post its biggest annual profit since 2002.
Zetsche earned 8.69 million euros ($12 million), including fixed salary, a bonus payment and stock options, a jump of 105 percent from 2009, Daimler said Wednesday in its annual report. Growth was driven by Zetsche's variable compensation, which surged sevenfold to 4.82 million euros.
The increase makes Daimler's CEO one of the best-paid executives among companies on Germany's benchmark DAX Index. Peter Loescher, CEO of Europe's biggest engineering company Siemens AG, earned almost 9 million euros for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, a gain of 26 percent. Deutsche Bank AG CEO Josef Ackermann was paid 9.55 million euros in 2009.
Daimler proposed resuming dividend payments at 1.85 euros a share for last year after dropping investor compensation for 2009 during the global recession. Growing wealth in China and recovering spending in the U.S. have since boosted demand for luxury cars. Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division as well as its peers BMW AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi brand are aiming for record sales this year.
Zetsche's contract expires at the end of 2013 after the carmaker extended it by three years in February 2010. Daimler returned to profit last year, posting earnings before interest and taxes of 7.27 billion euros compared with a loss of 1.51 billion euros for 2009. The carmaker forecast on Feb. 16 that operating profit will rise "significantly" this year.
Sales in 2010 rose 24 percent to 97.8 billion euros as both revenue and deliveries more than doubled in China. Daimler is building a motor factory in the country, its first plant for car engines outside Germany.
Pay for the entire management board, which includes CFO Bodo Uebber and Andreas Renschler, the head of Daimler's truck unit, increased to 25 million euros from 10 million euros. Wolfgang Bernhard, who joined the board as Mercedes-Benz's production chief a year ago, earned a total 2.83 million euros last year.