Toyota president delivers highest returns for lowest pay

Toyota Motor Corp. made its name on the value and efficiency of its cars. Its chief executive is earning a similar reputation for his compensation.

While the company generated the highest return last year among the world's five biggest automakers by sales, President Akio Toyoda, 57, is the lowest-paid chief of the group, earning less than one tenth as much as his best-compensated counterpart.

Toyoda has led a profit revival since taking control in June 2009, just after the global recession and the surging yen helped spur the automaker's first annual loss in 59 years. Toyoda, the founder's grandson, helped the company recover from Japan's earthquake and tsunami and a recall of millions of cars.

Toyota has climbed 28 percent this year in dollar terms as of Monday's close in Tokyo, after the carmaker reclaimed the title of world's biggest from General Motors Co. last year. In U.S. currency terms, Volkswagen AG has dropped 11 percent in 2013, while GM gained 12 percent, Daimler AG added 11 percent, and Ford Motor Co. advanced 18 percent as of the June 21 close of trading in New York and Frankfurt.

"Akio has been tested like no other CEO of Toyota in the last 30 years," said Maryann Keller, principal at auto industry consulting firm Maryann Keller & Associates in Stamford, Conn. Compared to Toyoda, "the competition is overpaid."

Toyoda's 2012 pay was 184 million yen ($1.9 million), a 35 percent increase from the previous year, according to a filing with Japan's Finance Ministry Monday. The carmaker's outlook for increasing profit prompted Toyota in March to approve the biggest bonus for workers since 2008.

Mulally, Winterkorn

Alan Mulally, Ford's CEO and the best paid among the top five, took home $21 million in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Martin Winterkorn, VW's CEO, was paid 14.5 million euros ($19 million) and Dieter Zetsche got 8.15 million euros at VW's German rival Daimler. Dan Akerson of GM, the Detroit carmaker part owned by the U.S. and Canadian governments, received $11 million.

That doesn't mean Toyoda is just scraping by. He controls 0.13 percent in shares of the family carmaker, valued at $256 million. That stake generated a dividend worth about $4.2 million in the year ended in March.

Salaries and bonuses for leaders at Japanese corporations lag behind global levels, said Edwin Merner, president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo, which manages about $3 billion in assets. Bloomberg

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