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Ford to pay CEO bonus at leaving

Mulally

– Ford will pay a bonus to CEO Alan Mulally after his employment ends as reward for leading the second-largest U.S. automaker through its turnaround.

The payment will be based on Ford’s contributions to Mulally’s company retirement and benefit equalization plans, the Dearborn, Mich., company said in a regulatory filing. Ford reported net income of $5.67 billion for 2012 and its shares climbed 20 percent, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 13 percent rise.

The agreement for the payment was dated Feb. 13 and is “a clarification of a prior agreement,” said Jay Cooney, a company spokesman.

“Nothing has changed.” No amounts were disclosed in the accord.

Ford reclaimed investment-grade credit ratings and paid out its first dividend since 2006 on the strength of its namesake brand, the only vehicle line to top 2 million U.S. sales last year.

Mulally, 67, has instituted a global product development plan called One Ford to boost profits by selling the same models globally, rather than different versions for various regions.

Ford has earned $35.2 billion the past four years after losing $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008. Executive Chairman Bill Ford elevated Mark Fields to chief operating officer in December from president of the Americas, positioning the 23-year veteran of the company to succeed Mulally after 2014.

Mulally’s compensation for 2012, including salary and benefits, will be revealed in the company’s proxy statement. Ford rewarded Mulally with stock worth $58.3 million in March of last year and $56.6 million a year earlier.

Ford also provided some detail on the Venezuelan government’s Feb. 8 decision to devalue its currency to an exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars to the U.S. dollar and the effect that move will have on the automaker’s operations in the country.

Ford had $620 million in net monetary assets denominated in Venezuelan bolivars as of the end of last year, according to last week’s filing. Ford would have recorded a translation loss of about $200 million in its year-end financial statements had the devaluation occurred before the end of last year, the company said.

“Our ability to obtain funds at the official exchange rate has been limited,” Ford said in the Feb. 19 filing. “Continuing restrictions on the foreign currency exchange market could affect our Venezuelan operations’ ability to pay obligations denominated in U.S. dollars as well as our ability to benefit from those operations.”

The automaker also reported that North American automotive employment increased to 80,000 at the end of 2012 from 75,000 a year earlier. Total Ford employment increased 4.3 percent to 171,000.

Rising demand for F-Series pickups in Ford’s home market paced a record $8.34 billion annual pretax profit for the company’s operations in North America.

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