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GM says CEO Barra's compensation to top predecessor's, as it tries to silence pay flap

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DETROIT - New General Motors CEO Mary Barra will get a pay package worth $14.4 million this year, 58 per cent more than her male predecessor, the company said Monday.

GM released the figure to counter reports that said Barra, the first woman to lead a major automaker, would be paid less than former Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson.

Those reports calculated Barra's compensation without including her long-term stock compensation, and the company was criticized for paying a woman leader less than a man.

Barra will get $1.6 million in salary, $2.8 million in short-term incentives and long-term stock compensation worth $10 million, the company said in a statement. The long-term amount is part of a new incentive plan that still has to be voted on by shareholders in June.

Akerson received roughly $9.1 million for 2013, the same package he received in 2012, GM spokesman Greg Martin said. His base salary was $100,000 more than Barra will get, but she likely will earn far more in stock-based compensation.

Chairman Tim Solso said in a statement that Barra's package is weighted so that most of it is "at risk," or based on the company's long-term performance.

GM said it normally releases the figures in late April with its annual proxy statement, but unveiled them early "to correct misperceptions created by comparisons that used only a portion of Barra's overall compensation."

Under an Associated Press executive compensation formula, Akerson's package was worth $11.1 million last year. The AP included $2 million in restricted stock that GM did not.

Akerson's compensation paled in comparison to others in the industry because of pay limits placed on GM by the government, part of the $49.5 billion bailout the company got in 2009. Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally earned $20.95 million in 2012, including a $2 million salary.

Those limitations were lifted in December after the government sold the remaining GM shares it received as part of the bailout.

Akerson, who remains a senior adviser to GM, will be paid up to $4.7 million this year, including his $1.7 million salary.

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