PARIS -- Renault's board stuck by its decision to pay the Carlos Ghosn 7.2 million euros ($8.2 million) for 2015 in defiance of a non-binding shareholder vote against the CEO's package.
Shareholders representing 54 percent of voting rights at the French automaker opposed Ghosn's pay package at the company's annual meeting on Friday.
In a hastily convened session after the gathering, Renault said its board decided to maintain Ghosn's payout, which includes 1.23 million euros in fixed salary, 1.78 million in variable pay and a further 4.18 million in deferred bonuses and stock.
"The board once again acknowledges the quality of 2015 results," the company said in a statement. However, the broad said its remunerations committee will review pay structures for 2016 and beyond.
The shareholder rejection was a symbolic protest because remuneration is only put to a consultation vote at the annual meeting.
In past years, Ghosn, who also heads Japanese alliance partner Nissan, has drawn regular criticism from the French state, Renault's biggest shareholder, over his pay levels. The government commands more than 18 percent of voting rights in Renault.
"It is important that you trust the board," Ghosn said after a shareholder asked a question about his pay. "The most important thing today is that Renault is doing well and is growing."
"The board does not decide [on compensation] on the basis of caprice," Ghosn told shareholders. "It is the board acting on your delegated authority that decides who runs the company and the remuneration that matches their efforts and talents."
The vote was the third time that the French government has opposed compensation for Ghosn, whose pay stayed steady last year after nearly tripling in 2014.
Finance ministry officials confirmed that the state had voted against Ghosn's package. "The government has been consistent in calling for pay moderation, starting with companies under public ownership," an official said.
The government also criticized PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares this year after his pay nearly doubled in 2015 to 5.25 million euros. Both carmakers say that their executives' compensation is linked to performance and is in line with that of their European competitors.
Bloomberg contributed to this report