Volvo Group to boost executive pay despite losses

Volvo Group to boost executive pay despite losses
Sweden’s Volvo Group announced on Thursday it had approved pay raises for 250 high-ranking executives this year, despite heavy fourth quarter losses at the world’s second largest truck maker.

“We must ensure that we can retain key persons among Volvo’s senior executives and this is not less important in bad times,” Finn Johnsson, the chairman of Volvo’s board and its remuneration committee, said in a statement.

The board had suggested raising the ceiling for the “performance-based variable salary” of 250 executives from 50 percent to a maximum of 60 percent of their fixed salaries this year, the company said.

It also proposed raising the maximum allotment of shares to senior executives by 50 percent, it added.

“People are being laid off at Volvo, stock holders are receiving fewer dividends, subcontractors are under enormous pressure, so it’s a bit much to announce new executive bonuses,” Guenther Mårder, the interim head of the Swedish Shareholders’ Association, said in a statement.

“You would almost think that the company was trying to create a conflict with both employees and stock holders. It makes you wonder what kind of world we’re living in,” he added.

Volvo, which posted a net loss of 1.35 billion kronor ($151 million) in the fourth quarter last year, meanwhile insisted that a study showed its executive management received lower pay than in comparable companies.

The company also pointed out that in the fourth quarter it had reduced inventories and “as a result posted a positive cash flow, which not all our competitors succeeded in accomplishing so well.”

“We have strong and attractive managers in Volvo and the senior executives the changes encompass include some of our absolutely most important leaders, now and in the future,” Johnsson said.

“It is the board’s duty to ensure that the company also succeeds with retaining them,” he added.