(Adds details of compensation, background)
By Nick Carey
DETROIT, March 29 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett earned salary, bonus and stock awards of $16.3 million in 2017, while adjusted pretax profit for the automaker dropped $1.9 billion from 2016, the company said on Thursday.
Including pensions and perks, Hackett, who took the helm of the No. 2 U.S. automaker in May, made $16.7 million.
His predecessor Mark Fields earned around $15 million in salary, bonus and stock awards in 2017, with a total compensation package of around $21 million.
That brought total CEO compensation to about $37 million during a year in which the company earned a pretax profit $8.4 billion, down from $10.3 billion in 2016.
Hackett was abruptly named as CEO in response to investors’ growing unease about the U.S. automaker’s slumping stock price and its ability to counter threats from longtime automotive rivals and upstarts in Silicon Valley.
Hackett overhauled furniture maker Steelcase Inc, and then as University of Michigan athletic director turned around the storied but ailing Big 10 football program. He is the latest in a line of non-family CEOs brought in with a mandate to change the management culture at one of the auto industry’s oldest institutions.
Earlier this month, Ford disclosed ambitious plans to shift the product portfolio from passenger cars to SUVs, add more hybrid and pure electric vehicles, and reduce development and manufacturing costs. The moves are aimed at boosting profits and share price.
Ford and the rest of the U.S. auto industry face declining sales. New vehicle sales fell 2 percent in 2017 after hitting an all-time high of 17.55 million units in 2016.
Sales are expected to fall further in 2018 despite a strong economy due to rising interest rates. New vehicle sales also face a challenge from millions of cheaper, nearly-new off-lease models returning to dealer lots.
Ford also said Thursday that Executive Chairman Bill Ford, 59, received a salary, bonus and stock awards totaling $13 million in 2017, up 17 percent from 2016. His pension award fell about 14 percent to $1.2 million.
The automaker’s shares closed up 2 percent at $11.08 on Thursday. Year to date, Ford’s shares are down 10 percent.
Last month Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said CEO Sergio Marchionne received $11.9 million (9.7 million euros) in pay and benefits for 2017. (Reporting by Nick Carey Editing by Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio)