PARIS -- Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares' 2021 pay drew an angry response from some trade unions on Wednesday, days ahead of a French presidential vote fought largely over cost-of-living concerns.
Minority Stellantis shareholder Phitrust estimated the value of the total compensation package awarded last year to Tavares at 66 million euros ($71 million) ahead of the automaker's group’s first annual general meeting.
The group's chairman, John Elkann, said Stellantis would take into account the shareholder vote, which he described as a recommendation, even though the executive remuneration report for senior managers, including Tavares, was opposed by more than 52 percent during Wednesday's meeting.
The vote however will not affect planned compensations for last year, based on Netherlands law, where Stellantis is based.
"Today's vote on remunerations is only consultative, so the remuneration report for 2021 will be implemented," a source close to the matter told Reuters.
"It is our conviction as a board that in a meritocracy, rewarding on the basis of performance criteria is a fundamental element of our policy," Elkann told shareholders. "We will take on this vote which is, again, a recommendation".
Phitrust, which issued a news release to say it had voted against approving the package, said Tavares' 2021 pay of about 19 million euros would add to a stock package worth an additional 32 million euros and long-term compensation of roughly 25 million euros.
A Stellantis spokesperson disputed the 66-million-euro figure put forward by Phitrust as "false".
"The real compensation for 2021 is around 19 million euros. The remainder are hypothetical elements for the long-term, until 2028," added the spokesperson for Stellantis. The automaker, which includes the Jeep, Ram, Opel and Maserati brands, was formed in January 2021 by the merger of PSA Group, where Tavares was CEO, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.