Salary boost for company CEO despite EV investment and ongoing Dieselgate costs.
Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Müller enjoyed a 40-percent increase in earnings last year, which saw him earn €10.14 million ($12.46M) in pay and benefits, according to the company's latest finance reporting.
Müller's salary increase came after Volkswagen posted record profits last year, and the company introduced new remuneration rules after investors criticized big bonuses paid to executives in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal which came to light in 2015.
The Volkswagen chief's salary was almost 20 percent more than his Daimler counterpart Dieter Zetsche, in a year in which Daimler's Mercedes brand beat Volkswagen-owned Audi, and BMW in sales for a second straight year. That being said, Volkswagen's profits doubled, despite investing in a new electric car range, and despite continuing to pay fines and other fees relating to the Dieselgate scandal.
The Volkswagen Group nearly doubled its operating profit last year, even as it continued to grapple with fallout from the emissions scandal and prepares to press ahead with a costly strategic shift to electric and self-driving cars.
Müller earned around €7.3M ($8.97M at current exchange rates) in 2016 under VW’s old remuneration system, which based bonuses on the company's performance over the previous two years. Now Volkswagen caps its CEO's salary at €10M ($12.30M), but Müller's salary reportedly exceeded the limit, thanks to perks and retirement provisions included in Germany’s HGB commercial code. For the other top manages, the top pay is capped at €5.5M ($6.76M). VW Group’s top executive board overall compensation rose by 27 percent to €50.3M ($61.85M).
Müller declined to comment on Volkswagen’s financial results at a recent news conference, but VW finance chief Frank Witter said that Müller’s remuneration fit with calls from investors to restructure the company's bonus policy. "For that reason, we feel vindicated and also (to be) fully in compliance with the (compensation) codex," he said.