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Macron wades into debate over executive pay

PARIS (AFP) – French President Emmanuel Macron waded into a heated debate about executive salaries yesterday, describing as “shocking and excessive” the EUR19 million pay packet of the head of carmaker Stellantis.

Macron, who is campaigning against far-right leader Marine Le Pen to hold onto the presidency at the ballot box on April 24, told Franceinfo radio that he was in favour of an EU-wide ceiling for top executives’ pay.

“We need to fight at a European level so that remuneration can’t be excessive,” he said.

“We need to set ceilings and have governance for Europe that make these things acceptable.

If not, society will explode at any given moment,” Macron said.

“People can’t be facing purchasing power problems… and then see these sorts of sums.”

Debate is currently raging over the EUR19 million payout for Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares for last year, when French carmaker PSA merged with Italian-US rival Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis, the world’s fourth-biggest automaker.

Beyond his base salary of EUR2 million, Tavares is to receive EUR7.5 million in performance-based pay, EUR2.4 million in retirement contributions and a EUR1.7-million-euro bonus related to the success of the merger. He will also receive EUR5.6 million worth of company shares, according to Stellantis.

“These sorts of sums are astronomic,” Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Siemens Gamesa wind turbines factory in Le Havre, western France. PHOTO: AP