Since the beginning of the crisis, the US automotive industry has been in disarray, as every company tries to cut their losses by taking measures that seem and perhaps are extreme. It could prove very difficult to try and put together some of the figures regarding job cuts, closed factories and so on, as new developments happen almost on an hourly basis. What is certain is that American car manufacturers scream, shout and kick for more money, needed they say in order to avoid bankruptcy, collapse, disintegration, the Armageddon...
Money they can find somewhere else. At least some of them. These are the salaries of some automotive executives, as they are presented by freep.com:
Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive: $2.2 million in 2008, $1 million in 2009
Fritz Henderson, GM president: $1.8 million in 2008, 30% cut for 2009
Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman: $1.75 million in 2008, 20% cut for 2009
Tom Stephens, GM executive vice president: $1 million in 2008, 20% cut for 2009
Gary Cowger, GM group vice president: $900,000 in 2008, 20% cut for 2009
Alan Mulally, Ford chief executive: $6 million in 2007, $2 million base salary for 2008
Don Leclair, Ford chief financial officer: $1.9 million in 2007
Mark Fields, Ford executive vice president: $2 million in 2007
Lewis Booth, Ford executive vice president: $1.4 million in 2007
Michael Bannister, Ford executive vice president: $1.1 million in 2007
As we see, cuts are being made at all levels of the company and this is a good thing. But are they enough? If you are inclined to say yes, you should know these numbers represent only the base salaries for the mentioned executives. They do not include stock options or bonuses.
The cuts that have been made for 2009 are insignificant. If the crisis is as bad as they say, the sacrifices made should have been greater, even more so at their level. By cutting an average 80 percent of any given executive salary, the jobs of some pour guy in Lordstown could have been saved. As an example, a $1 million dollar/year executive salary incorporates roughly 20 lower level salaries or makes up for 40 2008 Ford F-150 pick-up trucks...
Not enough to save the industry? Of course not. But everybody knows or at least hopes the crisis won't go on forever and no matter how big the salary cuts are, things will go back to the way there were. And by then, the extra $6-$7 million that could have been saved by imposing a fixed salary, say $100,000, for all execs would have made all the difference.
Studies will probably show that executives CAN live earning $100,000 a year. Most of us make due with far less. But if they can't they should stop bitching about the mighty crisis and get to work. Or at least take it down a notch.