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Managers at Major Germany Companies Suffer Pay Cuts

Executives at Germany's largest corporations are seeing the global economic crisis cut into their pay -- for the first time in six years. Experts expect the downward trend to continue in 2009.

Toy managers on euro notes

Managers are having to make do with less

The average pay of top managers in DAX-listed companies in 2008 fell to 2.41 million euros from last year's 2.93 million, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday, March 15.

Based on data from 22 of the 30 DAX companies, the decrease is expected to grow when the index's remaining eight companies, including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, file their reports, according to the paper.

Daimler head Dieter Zetsche saw his income cut in half from 10.2 million to 5 million in 2008.

Meanwhile, Siemens board members came in at the top of the 2008 table with execs earning an average of 4.11 million euros, though the averages are thought to be slightly skewed by CEO Peter Loescher's 9.84 million euros worth of remuneration in cash and stocks.

Following Loescher was RWE head Juergen Grossmann, who earned 7.08 million last year. VW chairman Martin Winterkorn received 6.14 million.

Stockholder representative welcomed the downward trend in manager pay.

"We think it's wonderful that salaries are dropping," Marco Cabras, a member of a German stockholder protection group, told the Welt am Sonntag, adding that the decrease showed the German system of paying executives was working.

Alexander von Preen, a salary consultant at Kienbaum, also told the paper he expected to see top managers' pay to drop further in 2009.

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