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New Ford CEO eligible for $13.4m in annual compensation

[WASHINGTON] Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday that new Chief Executive James Hackett is eligible for at least US$13.4 million in total annual compensation.

Hackett, 62, a former chief executive of furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc, was named to replace CEO Mark Fields on Monday.

Mr Hackett will earn a US$1.8 million annual salary, up from US$716,000 at his previous job as chairman of the Ford unit developing self-driving cars and related projects.

He will receive US$7 million in stock-based compensation and pocket a US$1 million bonus for becoming CEO. He is also eligible for an annual bonus of up to US$3.6 million, plus compensation from his service at Ford's mobility unit.

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Mr Fields will retire from the company effective Aug 1. He resigned from the Ford board immediately. He will be eligible for pro-rated incentive compensation through Aug 1.

Mr Fields will also be eligible for a company retirement program, a voluntary separation program offered to some management employees.

In March, Ford said Mr Fields received total compensation of US$22.1 million for 2016, up nearly 19 percent from US$18.6 million.

Joe Hinrichs, head of the Americas since December 2012, who was named on Monday to manage global product development, manufacturing and labor affairs, purchasing, and environmental and safety engineering, received a US$5 million restricted stock-based grant.

He received total compensation of US$6.7 million in 2016.

Some of the compensation for Mr Hackett will vest over three years. Mr Hackett was elected to Ford's board effective Friday.

Ford replaced Mr Fields amid investor unease about the US automaker's slumping stock price and its ability to counter threats from longtime rivals and Silicon Valley.

Moody's senior vice president Bruce Clark said in a research note the announcement is credit negative and could reflect more serious challenges than previously known. "The appointment of a new CEO at Ford was unexpected and comes in the absence of any major missteps by the company during recent years," he wrote.

Chairman Bill Ford Jr, whose family effectively controls the US No. 2 automaker, said on Monday he wanted Mr Hackett to speed up decision-making and cut costs, but did not elaborate on how the new CEO should change operations.

Mr Hackett said after discussing some management changes announced Monday that "there's more to come later in the week that will round out my team." Ford last week announced plans to cut 1,400 white-collar positions. It is expected to consider further significant cost cuts in the next three to six months.