Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive officer of the Renault Nissan alliance, is going to receive around 7.2 million euros for his performance last year heading French carmaker Renault and about the same figure for overseeing Japan’s Nissan.
The figure has mostly doubled from 2013 and, as usual, mostly comes from performance-related shares, but the total has already sparked queries from the state representatives that have seats on Renault’s board. Ghosn is one of the better managers in the auto industry today: he took the Renault Nissan alliance to new levels of cooperation, proved Dacia is now a global player in the affordable sector, took control over Russia’s largest carmaker and has a careful approach in China. Last year, Renault’s financial performance was better than a year ago and financial goals were met or surpassed. The only issue, the smallish 3.9 percent operating margin. And if his salary is too big, what can anyone say about FCA’s leader Sergio Marchionne that will gather $72 million for 2014.
For those raising the eyebrows, a few questions need to be asked: would he accept less, could he walk away from the job and is Renault able to replace him. First off, directing the French automaker and its Japanese peer for 10 and 15 years, respectively, money is not an objective anymore, for sure. Aged 61, he could also retire covered in glory. But replacing him atop – here’s the real challenge. His superstar status meant internal competition (Patrick Pelata in 2011 and Carlos Tavares recently) was quickly removed and external candidates that would be suitable for the job are scarce.