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The Treasury Department rejected some salary increases requested by General Motors Co. (GM) as it froze top pay packages at three companies that received exceptional assistance during the financial crisis.
Overall chief executive compensation at GM, American International Group Inc. (AIG) and Ally Financial Inc. in 2012 will be unchanged for the second straight year, the Treasury said.
Companies receiving exceptional assistance through the Troubled Asset Relief Program agreed to submit pay proposals for top executives to a Special Master for Executive Compensation as part of their bailout terms. The special master, Patricia Geoghegan, rejected some cash salary increases requested by GM, and made modifications to packages at all of the companies.
"After reviewing GM's proposal, the Office of the Special Master has determined that in certain cases the full amount of the proposed increases was not justified," Geoghegan said in a letter to GM.
Letters to the companies don't detail what was requested or how much any package was altered.
Congress and the White House had wanted to cap salaries at $500,000 for the seven companies that received the most aid during the financial crisis. AIG, GM and Ally are the last three remaining in the program.
While the reports out Friday don't list any names, they show that some compensation packages are well above that level for the top 25 executives at the companies.
The top salary at AIG, for example, is $10.5 million in cash and stock. The lowest among the top 25 executives is $700,000 in cash. Robert Benmosche is AIG's president and chief executive.
Ally's pay packages range is from $9.5 million--all in stock--to $1.93 million in cash and stock. Michael Carpenter is Ally's chief executive.
And at GM, salaries range from $9 million to $1.24 million in cash and stock. Daniel Akerson is GM's chairman and chief executive.
AIG and GM didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
An Ally spokeswoman said the company's executive compensation is in line with the guidelines for TARP companies. "The management team is squarely focused on delivering value for shareholders and repaying the remaining U.S. Treasury investment," said Gina Proia.
While CEO pay was frozen, overall pay for other top executives shifted. A group of 69 executives--the top 25 at each company minus six departures since Jan. 1--saw overall compensation decrease 10% from 2011 levels.
The decrease reflects, in part, the departure of some higher-paid executives in 2011. For the individuals in the top 25 in both 2011 and 2012, total direct compensation--cash and stocks--decreased 2%.
AIG, GM and Ally are the only three left out of the original seven companies that received exceptional TARP assistance where the government still owns a stake.
The Treasury invested $68 billion in AIG, $50 billion in GM and $17 billion in Ally.
Companies that have exited the bailout program are: Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc. (C), Chrysler Group LLC and Chrysler Financial.
-By Jeffrey Sparshott, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9291; firstname.lastname@example.org