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Ford stock: CEO Mulally gets $56.5 million of it

Ford stock – nearly $57 worth' – has been awarded to its CEO. Is the Ford stock package too generous?

In this Jan. 26, 2010, file photo, Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally talks about Ford's progress during a news conference at the Washington Auto Show in Washington. The company has rewarded Mr. Mulally with Ford stock worth $56.5 million before taxes.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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Ford Motor Co.'s top two executives received nearly $100 million worth of Ford stock for their performance during 2009 and 2010, years in which the company's profits and stock price surged.

The awards, disclosed in regulatory filings late Monday, are considered excessive by some Ford assembly line workers. But Wall Street may not see it that way. Ford's stock price rose 3 percent on Tuesday.

CEO Alan Mulally, credited with propelling the company from staggering losses a few years ago to profits of $2.7 billion in 2009 and $6.6 billion last year, received stock valued at $56.5 million before taxes.

The man who hired Mulally, Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., got stock worth $42.4 million, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Salaries and other compensation were not listed and will be revealed later this year.

The Dearborn, Michigan, company was in financial peril late in 2006 when Bill Ford removed himself as CEO and hired Mulally away from Boeing Co. Ford Motor Co. lost $12.6 billion that year.

Under Mulally, the company mortgaged assets including its blue oval logo to borrow more than $23 billion, allowing it to weather the recession. It avoided filing for bankruptcy or following General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC in taking government aid.

Ford sold or shuttered five of its seven brands, closed or sold a quarter of its plants and cut its global work force by more than a third. It plowed the savings back into well-received new vehicles such as the Ford Fusion sedan and Ford Edge.

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Mulally also improved reliability and shifted Ford's model lineup from trucks and SUVs to smaller vehicles in case higher gasoline prices changed what car buyers wanted. Sales rose 20 percent last year.

Joe Phillippi, president of New Jersey-based AutoTrends Consulting LLC and a former Wall Street analyst, said the stock awards are not out of line given Ford's turnaround.

"They made a lot of money for a lot of people," he said.

Mulally, he said, was the catalyst for Ford's comeback. "He deserves a tremendous amount of credit."

But the stock awards won't sit well with some of Ford's 40,000 U.S. assembly line workers.

Gary Walkowicz, a Ford worker in Dearborn, said it's another reason workers must demand to get back benefits and wages they gave up to help the company when it struggled.

"They can't claim poverty," he said of Ford. "The concessions we gave up have given them abnormally high profits considering the economy is in a down period."

Since 2005, the union gave up cost of living pay raises, changed inefficient work rules and agreed to take responsibility for retiree health care with a trust mostly funded by Ford. But the factory workers this month will receive $5,000 profit-sharing checks from the company, the first such checks since 1999.

A message seeking comment on the executive stock awards was left with a spokeswoman for United Auto Workers President Bob King.

Ford spokesman John Stoll said the awards were part of compensation packages from 2009 and 2010 that were disclosed in previous SEC filings. "We align executive compensation to company performance and long-term shareholder value," Stoll said.

Ford's stock in January closed at a five-year high of $18.79 after falling as low as $1.43 in 2008, when the future of Ford and its Detroit rivals was uncertain.

But the shares have since dropped toward $14 after Ford's fourth-quarter results fell short of Wall Street expectations and gas prices jumped due to turmoil in the Middle East.

Under the stock awards, Mulally received 3.8 million shares worth $14.76 each on March 3, according to an SEC filing. But the company withheld 1.56 million shares worth $23 million to pay taxes on the stock award, giving Mulally a net award worth about $33.4 million.

Bill Ford got 2.87 million shares worth $14.76 each, and the company withheld 1.17 million shares to pay $17.3 million in taxes, giving him a net stock award valued at $25 million.

Mulally also will get another 543,734 shares as of March 3, 2013, and he has options to buy another 884,433 shares over the next 10 years at $14.76 each.

Bill Ford also will get another 253,742 shares in March of 2013, and he has options to buy another 412,735 shares at $14.76 during the next 10 years.

The company's stock rose 46 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $14.47 on Tuesday.


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