French President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Friday called the pay package for the CEO of Franco-Italian carmaker Stellantis “shocking” with excessive executive pay now a hot topic in the tight presidential election in France.
Just 9 days away from a runoff that will determine who leads the European Union’s second-largest economy for the next five years, opinion polls show Macron only slightly ahead of Le Pen in a contest that could potentially go both ways. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares’ 2021 compensation package is approximately €19 million ($20.5 million), plus an equity package worth approximately €32 million additional compensation and long-term compensation of approximately 25 million euros.
“We are talking about astronomical sums here… we have to cap them, it can work if we act at European level,” Emmanuel Macron told franceinfo radio. “People can’t have purchasing power issues, difficulties and anxiety in their lives and see sums like that,” Macron said, adding that otherwise “society will explode.”
Le Pen echoed his comments. “Of course it’s shocking. It’s even more shocking when it’s a CEO who has put the company in difficulty and who receives considerable sums,” she told BFM television, suggesting that o way to compensate for this remuneration was to develop employee share ownership.
The company said in a statement that it does not comment on the positions of politicians and said the group had gone from near bankruptcy to leadership under Tavares’ leadership. He added that he had paid as much to staff as to shareholders – 1.9 billion euros – and said that Tavares’ salary was 90% variable depending on the performance of the company and lower than that of its rivals GM and Ford.
Just over 52% of the company’s shareholders voted against the pay package on Wednesday in an advisory vote. ($1 = 0.9257 euros)
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