Ford Motor Co. has made what it pays its top executives about as transparent as any company in America.
While many public companies hide their executive compensation data in the fine print of regulatory filings, Ford simply put out a news release that outlined what the bosses were making in fairly simple terms. It also filed the information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chief Executive Alan Mulally, the former Boeing executive credited with helping Ford avoid the bankruptcy reorganizations and federal bailouts that sustained General Motors and Chrysler during the recession, earned $29.5 million in total compensation last year.
That included $2 million in salary, $5.5 million in a cash bonus and $22 million in long-term stock options and other performance-based equity awards. It was his biggest payout in six years as Ford's chief executive.
Bill Ford, the automaker's executive chairman, collected $14.5 million in total compensation.
Mark Fields, the executive vice president who runs operations in the Americas, garnered just under $9 million in total compensation.
Lewis Booth, the chief financial officer, was paid $7.7 million, and Joe Hinrichs, who runs the Asia Pacific and Africa regions, collected $5.3 million.
The automaker said the compensation committee of Ford's board of directors approved the payments because of the "exceptional performance" of the business in 2011.
That performance included Ford's highest net annual income in more than 10 years: $7.8 billion excluding special non-cash accounting items. The company also reduced its debt by $6 billion, to $13.1 billion, at the end of 2011. And Ford's U.S. market share for 2011 was 16.5%, an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point.
That was the third consecutive year Ford has boosted market share, the first time it has had such a string since 1989.