Why Stellantis CEO's Pay Is Used in the French Presidential Election

Carlos Tavares 6 photos
Photo: Stellantis on YouTube
Carlos TavaresEmmanuel Macron Waving From the Presidential DS 7 CrossbackMarine Le Pen Giving an InterviewCarlos TavaresCarlos Tavares
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares made it into the French presidential election. He didn’t intend to do so, but the incumbent Emmanuel Macron said he is paid too much by the auto giant. Here’s what the politicians want to do in this regard.
Carlos Tavares will receive a total pay of almost $82.1 million (€76 million) for the work he did in 2021 as Stellantis’ leader. Not everything will be paid in cash, though. He’ll also receive a stock package and other long-term benefits and compensations that will, in the end, amount to that huge sum.

The current President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is running for another 5-year term, and, out of nowhere, he calls out the auto executive for earning too much money. The campaigning head of state was previously accused by the working class to be siding with the rich, and now he calls for a cap on what a CEO might receive as payment from the company they are running.

"We're talking about astronomical sums here... We should put a cap on these, this could work if we act at a European level," Macron told franceinfo radio, according to Reuters.

Macron’s rival, Marine Le Pen, said the same thing while adding that such a huge yearly pay is “shocking.” Le Pen is currently under investigation for embezzlement by EU prosecutors.

You might wonder why a CEO from the auto industry got dragged into a French political competition. The main reason is that Carlos Tavares leads the following well-known brands: Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Opel, Lancia, Peugeot, Ram, and the hopeful Lancia. Out of these 13 carmakers, three are based in France. Before Stellantis appeared as the result of a merger between Peugeot Societe Anonyme (PSA) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) groups, Opel (and his British sibling Vauxhall) was bought by Peugeot. This acquisition would make it the fourth French-owned car marque, even though it’s presented everywhere as a German brand.

Another reason is that everything made in France is very important to the nationals. They don’t want to lose their industry to foreign influence or buyers. One recent example in this regard is when the French Government blocked the sale of retail giant Carrefour for $20 billion to a Canadian company. The reasons given by the country's leaders were food and jobs security.

There’s also another point that we should underline here. A couple of months ago, Tavares said politicians are to blame for the forced switch to EVs. He didn’t just mention this, but he gave strong examples of why Europeans and the broader auto industry shouldn’t be forced to hastily transition to zero-emissions powertrains.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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