The Obama administration's pay czar said on Thursday his compensation rulings will allow General Motors Co and Chrysler Group to retain talent but is willing to consider lateral offers to hire new executives.
Kenneth Feinberg, the U.S. Treasury's special master for executive pay at seven companies with massive taxpayer bailouts, told a forum sponsored by Bloomberg that the auto industry largely accepted his pay rulings without appeals.
If General Motors or any other company wants to bring someone in laterally -- laterally -- and competitive pay packages require that lateral hires get certain competitive pay, what have you, we're perfectly willing to examine that, Feinberg said.
Feinberg last month ordered steep pay cuts for the top 25 earners at GM, Chrysler Group, GMAC Financial Services, Chrysler Financial, American International Group , Bank of America and Citigroup .
He said he would measure his success in determining appropriate pay levels for these firms by their repayment of bailout money that was provided by taxpayers. He added that he would like to see other Wall Street firms adopt compensation plans based on long-term profits, but made it clear that his jurisdiction does not extend beyond the seven bailed-out firms.
I think it would be wonderful if my determinations had some consequential impact beyond these seven companies, but there is nothing more important than the fact that these companies (must) repay, Feinberg said. The Secretary of the Treasury has made it very clear that we must keep these companies in business, thriving, so that the taxpayer can get repaid.
Feinberg is now working on compensation plans for the next 75 highest earners at the seven firms and then will start the whole process over for 2010 compensation.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)