Stellantis CEO Tavares’ compensation ‘not normal,’ French government says

PARIS – A French government spokesman said that the financial compensation for Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares was not “normal” and showed there was a need for more regulation at the European level.

Tavares, who oversaw the merger between PSA Group, where he was CEO, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that created Stellantis in January 2021, is set to be paid about 19 million euros ($20.5 million) for 2021. 

He is also eligible for a stock package worth an additional 32 million euros and long-term compensation of about 25 million euros, according to Phitrust, an investor.

“Obviously, these are not normal figures,” said the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, at a news conference on Tuesday. The French government holds a 6.2 percent stake in Stellantis through the bpifrance investment bank.

Stellantis shareholders are set to vote on Tavares’ compensation package Wednesday afternoon at the group’s first annual general meeting. Stellantis is incorporated in Amsterdam, and the meeting will be held by videoconference.

Phitrust said in a statement that it had voted against approving Tavares’ pay package.

Tavares’ 2021 compensation, if approved, would most likely make him the highest-paid automotive CEO in Europe. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess earned just under 8 million euros in 2020. 

In the U.S., GM CEO Mary Barra earned $23.7 million in 2020 (about 21.9 million euros at current exchange rates).

Automotive News Europe has calculated that if Tavares achieved all the targets of his compensation incentives and plans, he would be entitled to receive more than $238 million by 2026.

Former Renault Group CEO Carlos Ghosn also faced criticism over his pay from the French government.

Ghosn was simultaneously CEO of both Renault and alliance partner Nissan for a number of years, and drew a multimillion-dollar compensation package from both automakers. 

It was reportedly the prospect of reduction in pay from Nissan that led to Ghosn’s alleged involvement in what Japanese prosecutors say was an effort to hide millions more in compensation. 

Ghosn has denied the allegations since his arrest in 2018, and he remains in Lebanon after fleeing there at the end of 2019 rather than face trial in Japan. 

Reuters contributed to this report

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