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Carlos Ghosn Becomes Japan’s Top-Paid Gaijin

Nissan chief handily out-earns Toyota, Honda chief execs – but lags well behind Ford’s Mulally.

by on Jun.30, 2011

Ghosn collects $12 million at Nissan and another $1.7 million for his duties at Renault.

It’s expensive in Tokyo.  But Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn shouldn’t have to worry much about the price of sashimi – the Brazilian-born executive drawing a paycheck of nearly $12 million last year.

That figure, which includes pay, stock options and bonuses, doesn’t include the $1.7 million Ghosn also collected from Nissan’s French alliance partner Renault, where he also serves as CEO.

Ghosn’s 2010 compensation made him the highest-paid “gaijin,” or foreign, executive in Japan, readily out-earning Sony’s CEO Howard Stringer, who made $10.66 million for 2010, as well as the managers at Nissan’s primary automotive rivals.  By comparison, Akio Toyoda, the founding family heir and chief executive at Toyota, made $1.8 million, while Honda’s Takanobu Ito had to get by on a mere $1.6 million.

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But while lavish by Japanese standards, Ghosn’s remuneration was modest in comparison to the paycheck taken home by Ford Motor Co.’s top two bosses.  Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally’s total package nudged up towards the nine-figure mark, including the $56 million in stock he was awarded, while Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. claimed $42 million in stock on top of his pay and bonuses.