Does Toyota’s CEO Provide the Best Bang For Your Buck?


Toyota (NYSE:TM) has long been revered as a company that provides great value and efficiency to its customers, and its chief executive seems to have inherited this ability.

Of the five top car companies in the world, Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, whose grandfather founded the company, is the lowest-paid chief amongst his peers, and yet his company delivers the highest revenue, according to Bloomberg.

Toyoda, who is compensated with a tenth of each of his fellow CEOs’ salary, took over Toyota in 2009, in the midst of a recession that saw his company post an annual loss for the first time in 59 years. Since then, he has successfully guided the company out of the recession while managing to reassert Toyota as the world’s biggest auto manufacturer, topping General Motors (NYSE:GM) last year. That, and Toyota has climbed 26 percent this year in dollar revenue.

However, other auto companies have also seen impressive growth this year — even if those figures don’t hold a candle to the huge numbers posted by Toyota. Ford (NYSE:F) has seen a 13 percent growth in 2013, followed by GM with 9 percent, and Daimler AG’s growth of 5 percent. The only company in the top five that saw a dip in terms of growth was German automaker Volkswagen.

Toyoda’s 2012 salary was $1.9 million, a 35 percent increase from the previous year. Alan Mulally, Ford’s chief and the best-paid CEO, made $21 million, more than tenfold that of Toyoda’s. Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s CEO, was paid $19 million — not bad for someone whose company is the only one that saw a decline in sales this year. And Dieter Zetsche, chief executive at Daimler, made $10.7 million in 2012.

Toyoda is known for only accepting a salary he feels he deserves. In 2010 Toyoda rejected his bonus pay after a recall of more than 8 million cars worldwide led to a U.S. congressional hearing. His annual compensation only afforded him 100 million yen ($1 million), the lowest of Japan’s three biggest automakers.

“I was feeling enormous pressure and was full of anxiety as I went in to bring up the rear of this losing battle,” he said at the company’s annual meeting that year.

So he took voluntarily took a pay cut, a strategy many investors would love other CEOs to adopt.

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