Chrysler Execs to Get $30M in Retention Bonuses

Will auto bailout change that?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2008 10:11 AM CST
Workers leave the Daimler Chrysler Newark Assembly Plant during a shift change Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008, in Newark, Del.    (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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(Newser) – Even as nearly bankrupt Detroit automakers beg Congress for a bailout, Chrysler is preparing to pay its top executives $30 million in retention bonuses, the Detroit Free Press reports. Chrysler says the deals were necessary measures to keep top talent in place when they were conceived last year during Daimler's sale of Chrysler, but a human resources VP admits they might be a bit controversial now.

“We all would be smarter if we knew what we know now back in February of '07,” she tells the Free Press, insisting that the bonuses, which range from $200,000 to $1.89 million, “were very conservatively constructed.” Congress, of course, may carve up the contracts, or limit executive pay in other ways as part of any bailout package—if there's a bailout. “We’re very interested in making sure there is shared sacrifice,” said Michigan Rep. Sander Levin.