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PEOPLE : Ford Chairman’s Earnings: $10.5 Million

From Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. Chairman Donald Petersen earned $10.5 million in compensation last year, mainly from exercising stock options, the company said Monday.

Separately, Ford announced the appointments of three new executive vice presidents including Allan Gilmour, who is considered Petersen’s likely successor.

The compensation for Petersen and four other top executives was detailed in Ford’s annual proxy statement, which is being mailed to shareholders in advance of the company’s May 11 annual meeting.

Ford was the nation’s most profitable auto maker last year with earnings of $5.3 billion.

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Petersen got $3.3 million in salary, bonuses and other benefits and gained $7.2 million from exercising stock options last year. His compensation topped the $3.7 million Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee A. Iacocca received for 1988.

Ford President Harold Poling earned $4.1 million, including $2.6 million in salary and other compensation and $1.5 million from exercised stock options.

Last year, Ford reported that Petersen exercised no stock options and received $3.7 million. Poling last year exercised stock options worth $8 million and received $10.9 million in total compensation.

United Auto Workers President Owen Bieber and Vice President Stephen Yokich, who heads the union’s Ford Department, criticized the payments as part of “Detroit’s annual executive pigout.”

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“We think it would be far better advised to invest in new facilities and hire more employees rather than squander valuable resources on trying to keep up with the ‘junk bond’ barons,” they said in a statement.

The salaries, supplemental compensation payments and stock options of other Ford officers listed in Monday’s proxy statement:

- Louis R. Ross, executive vice president for North American automotive operations and named Monday as executive vice president for international automotive operations, $3.5 million.

- Philip Benton, executive vice president and president of the Ford Automotive Group, $3 million.

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- Gilmour, Ross’ predecessor in international operations who was appointed executive vice president for corporate staffs, $1.7 million.

Because Gilmour was the only one of the three also named to the office of the chief executive--which is shared by Petersen, Poling and Executive Vice President Stanley Seneker, the company’s chief financial officer--he is seen as the likely choice to succeed Petersen when he reaches Ford’s mandatory retirement age of 65 in the fall of 1991.

At the end of March, Vice Chairman William Clay Ford Sr., grandson of the company’s founder, retired from the company and his title was eliminated. Ford, who was a member of the office of the chief executive, will remain a member of the company’s board of directors.

The appointments of Gilmour, Ross and Alexander Trotman, who succeeds Ross, become effective May 1.

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