Tuesday, July 01, 2008

American Axle CEO Awarded $8.5 Million Bonus After Winnng Concessions From UAW Workers

Axle CEO awarded $8.5-million bonus

June 28, 2008

American Axle & Manufacturing Chief Executive Officer Dick Dauch was paid an $8.5-million bonus, more than doubling his 2006 bonus, as a reward for Dauch's role in securing a concessionary contract with the UAW.

The bonus, which the board postponed during the UAW's three-month strike against the company, comes as American Axle is shedding about 2,000 hourly jobs and considers layoffs in its salaried workforce.

Bonuses for four other executives, including American Axle Chief
Financial Officer Michael Simonte and Chief Operating Officer David
Dauch -- both deeply involved in the negotiations -- were also boosted by as much as half.

The board's compensation committee cited the executives'
"accomplishments and commitment during a period of significant change in our industry" and its desire to motivate the leaders, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday evening.

UAW Local 235 President Bill Alford Jr. called the bonuses appalling, saying Dick Dauch and other executives are profiting "in the middle of everyone else's misery."

Dauch's contract calls for a bonus of three times his annual salary,
which in 2007 was $1.47 million. Eligible for a bonus of about $4.4
million, Dauch was given almost twice that by the board, which noted in the filing, "AAM's strong financial performance in 2007, the structural transformation achieved under our new labor agreements with the UAW and ... Dauch's leadership role in these negotiations." In 2007, the company reported a profit of $37 million, after losing $222.5 million in 2006.

But the bonuses follow a bitter three-month strike by 3,650 American
Axle workers against five UAW-represented plants as they tried to resist wage and benefit cuts. American Axle said it needed the cuts to compete with other axle makers that cut their costs in new contracts or in bankruptcy proceedings.

Ultimately, workers accepted a contract that cut wages by about half for many employees and closes two factories, including a forging plant in Detroit.

Workers are considering buyout and retirement packages. The company said it expects to cut its hourly workforce by 2,000 people.

The 2007 executive bonuses were paid Friday:

• Dick Dauch, chief executive officer, $8.5 million, up from $3.9
million for 2006. His compensation for the year totaled $15.7 million.

• Michael Simonte, chief financial officer, $435,000.

• Yogendra Rahangdale, chief technology officer, $525,000.

• David Dauch, chief operating officer, $525,000.

• Patrick Lancaster, chief administrative officer, $258,600.

Contact JEWEL GOPWANI at jgopwani@freepress.com.

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