Board pay shrinks in Germany′s biggest companies | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 07.07.2016
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Board pay shrinks in Germany's biggest companies

A new study shows that board members in Germany's biggest companies took home less last year then before, while employee compensation rose on average. The gap in between though remains staggering.

Among Germany's biggest companies, the pay gap between the corner office and the cubicle remains colossal, though a little less so than before.

In 2015, board members of the 30 companies listed on Germany's DAX stock index earned on average 50 times more than their employees. They received 54 times as much the year before.

This findings, announced Thursday, resulted from a study by investor association Deutsche Schutzvereinigung für Wertpapierbesitz (DSW) and experts from the Technical University of Munich.

Last year, gross wages rose four percent while executive earnings dropped by 1.8 percent.

The authors of the study largely attributed the latter change to two trends: the size of executive bonuses shrank as they became more truly tied to their company's success, and their base salaries weren't spiked as compensation.

It still pays to be on top

Dieselgate may also have played a role - Volkswagen's former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down last September after US regulators revealed the carmaker's use of emissions test cheating devices in its diesel vehicles, was the DAX's highest-earning board member, and the only to be earning over 10 million euros ($11.08 million) per year.

The head of Stuttgart-based carmaker Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, now takes the top spot, raking in an annual remuneration of 8.5 million euros. VW's current CEO Matthias Müller is third on the list, earning 7.3 million euros per year.

Altogether, the average pay of a German CEO on the DAX is 5.1 million euros, putting them atop their French colleagues, who average 4.7 million euros, but below Swiss CEO's, who average 6.8 million euros.

They all pale in comparison though to the top brass on the other side of the Atlantic. CEOs of US companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average earn on average 16.4 million euros.

jtm/uhe (dpa, DSW)

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