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When the Big Boss tries to defend his Big salary : it's simply not credible

By Volkswagen AG [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In response to a question asked by a reporter for the German magazine "Der Spiegel", the manager of one of the largest companies in the world has put forward an argument that is downright grotesque. The question to the Pt of Volkswagen company (VW) Mr Matthias Müller -who just stepped down- was about the increase in its annual remuneration to €10.1million up 40% on the previous year. It is fair to say that last year VW doubled its net profit to €11.4 billion. But it is also worth pointing out that the appointment of Mr Müller as the head of the company was in particular to restore VW's image after the "Dieselgate" scandal. Usually, top managers justify their high level of remuneration by the fact that there is a "global market place" for outstanding talents just as in the world of professional sport. However, Matthias Müller explains in a totally serious manner, albeit tongue in cheek, that if you manage a very large company you always have a foot in prison. In short, the big boss says that the risk of jail time justifies the mega incomes! This is a bogus argument. In fact, we all know that the owner and head of a small business often takes higher risks than the top executives of a leading international group.The small entrepreneur very often must go into debt to support the growth of his company. And thereby he runs the risk of losing everything.This is obviously a major difference with most top executive managers. In both substance and form, and in a context of widespread distrust vis à vis the managers pay practices in large companies, this sensitive issue must be approached with more caution. And why should a Board hand out an extra bonus to managers who are unable to control the senior staff and ultimately put into danger the future of the company?

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