The large remuneration that was given to Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, in 2021 has been causing waves in France. Phitrust, a minority shareholder in the recently-formed conglomerate, has questioned if the pay is appropriate.
In a press release, Phitrust states that Tavares’ pay in 2021 amounted to €19 million ($20.68 million at current exchange rates). His annual bonus alone, the shareholder alleges, was €7.5 million ($8.16 million) and with free share plans worth €32 million ($34.84 million) and other forms of compensation, it estimates that the CEO was granted €66 million ($71.85 million) in 2021 alone.
“Is this remuneration, which is the highest of the large companies in France (and probably of the listed groups in the European Union), justified for a person who is not the creator of the company, but is only its manager and therefore does not take any risk or financial penalty or assume any personal responsibility, especially as the merger of the two groups is not yet completed?” Phitrust asks other shareholders and the French government in its statement.
Speaking to Reuters, a Stellantis spokesperson called Phitrust’s €66 million ($71.85 million) estimate “false,” arguing that there are many hypothetical, long-term elements to the CEO’s payment. They did, however, confirm the €19 million ($20.68 million) figure and the shareholder stated that they calculated the larger figure using the methodology of the French Autorite des Marche Financiers.
The release has garnered reactions from union representatives. Jean-Pierre Mercier, a representative for the CGT union, called the remunerations package “indecent and revolting.” Other union representatives in Europe have called on politicians to take urgent measures to cap executive salaries.
Indeed, Gabriel Attal, a spokesperson for the French government, which has a 6.15 percent stake in Stallantis, told the press that the figures were not “normal” and said they showed there was a need for more regulation at the European level.
The events take place shortly before a runoff election in a hotly contested race for the French presidency.