Chrysler leaders get $30 million in bonuses

“Chrysler leaders get millions” – a headline like that should definitely help the Detroit Big 3 get aid from Congress. A story with that very title ran on The Detroit Free Press yesterday stating that while the company slashes thousands of jobs, it is in an “awkward position of paying about $30 million in retentions bonuses to keep top executives.”

Under a contract with about 50 executives, Chrysler will pay out millions in bonuses to top-level executives based on a retention incentive plan introduced when it broke off from Daimler last year. Basically the idea at the time was to ensure any potential buyers that Chrysler’s key execs would remain with the company after a sale.

Of course the bonuses are being seen as controversial now. “We all would be smarter if we knew what we know now back in February of ’07,” said Nancy Rae, executive vice president for human resources and communications. “Probably a lot of different decisions would be made.”

The new comes at a perfect time when chief executives from Chrysler, GM and FoMoCo are headed to Washington next week to testify before a House committee on a proposal for $25 billion in loans to help keep all three companies alive.

We’re just wondering if all these so-called “top-level” executives are really worth $30 million.