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GM's Whitacre gets $5 million for 9 months work

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Edward Whitacre, the former chief executive of General Motors, received over $5 million in total compensation for his nine months of service at the automaker last year.

Whitacre, who stepped down in September, received $1.1 million in base pay, stock awards valued at more than $3.5 million and over $300,000 in "other compensation" for 2010, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, GM became a publicly traded company again in November, raising a record $20.1 billion in its initial offering. That was over two months after Whitacre had left the company.

Whitacre, a former CEO of AT&T, took the helm at GM in December 2009, five months after he joined the company as chairman. For his services in 2009, Whitacre was paid $181,308, according to the filing.

Dan Akerson, who replaced Whitacre, was given total compensation worth over $2.5 million last year, including $566,667 in base pay, as well as stock awards valued at $1.7 million. Akerson also got $194,088 in other compensation for his service as a company director through August, according to the filing.

However, the highest paid executive at GM was Chris Liddell, the chief financial officer who announced his resignation in March.

Liddell, who came to GM in January 2010, received total compensation worth $6.2 million for the year. The bulk of Liddell's windfall was a stock award worth more than $5.4 million. But he also received $747,596 in base pay and $27,545 in other compensation, which usually refers to perks.

The regulatory filling provides the first glimpse into GM's compensation policies since the automaker went public. It also underscores a dramatic turnaround for a company that had to be rescued by the government and was in bankruptcy court only a few years ago.

"Government Motors," as it was jokingly known on Wall Street before its turnaround, has repaid much of the money it received from Uncle Sam. Meanwhile the Treasury Department has been gradually selling off its shares in the company.

While GM's stock is down 10% since it went public in November, the company has been benefiting from strong sales in China and a gradual rebound in U.S. auto sales.

GM (GM) reported in February that it earned $4.7 billion in 2010. That ended a string of five years of losses during which the cumulative red ink topped $100 billion. The profit was the biggest at the company since 1999.  To top of page

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