Pay back to pre-crisis levels for top bosses

Pay back to pre-crisis levels for top bosses
Volkswagen's Martin Winterkorn raked in more some €9.33 million. Photo: DPA
Wages earned by top German bosses have climbed back to pre-crisis levels but are tied more closely to a company's longer-term performances, a private study showed on Wednesday.

Average pay for the head of a company listed on Frankfurt’s DAX index of German blue-chip stocks amounted to €4.6 million in 2010, an annualised rise of 21 percent, the advisory group HKP said.

Profit per share reported by the same groups leapt by 124 percent over the same period, it noted.

In 2008, the year the global financial and economic crisis took a sharp turn for the worse with the bankruptcy of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, average pay for top German executives was around €4 million, HKP said.

Last year, variable pay such as bonuses paid according to company results, and settled over several years, increased to 45 percent of the total on average from 35 percent in 2008, according to the study’s findings.

In the meantime a German law on executive pay, passed following an agreement by the G20 group of highly developed and emerging economies, took effect in 2009.

Last year the best paid German executive from a publicly listed company was Martin Winterkorn of Volkswagen, who is to receive €9.33 million, a gain of 41 percent on the year.

He was followed by Siemens boss Peter Löscher with €8.9 million (plus 27 percent), Deutsche Bank’s Josef Ackermann with €8.8 million, and Dieter Zetsche of Daimler, whose pay more than doubled to €8.7 million.

The headline figures could decrease however, because much of those sums will be paid over several years and depend on sustained results by the companies concerned.

At the bottom of the DAX pay scale was Martin Blessing of Commerzbank, who earned €500,000 in 2010, the same as the previous year, because his salary was capped when the bank received several billion euros in state aid.


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