Macron and Le Pen claim that Stellantis' CEO's pay package is "choppy."

Macron and Le Pen claim that Stellantis' CEO's pay package is "choppy." ...

PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen on Friday called the pay package of Franco-Italian carmaker Stellantis' CEO "shocking" with excessive executive pay now a hot topic in France's tight-run presidential election.

Macron is only nine days ahead of a runoff that will determine who will lead the European Union's second-largest economy for the next five years, according to opinion surveys. In a bid that might go either way, Macron is only marginally ahead of Le Pen.

The compensation package for Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares in 2021 has risen to over 19 million euros ($25 million), plus a stock package worth 32 million euros, as well as a long-term compensation of around 25 million euros.

"We're talking about astronomical sums here, but we should place a cap on these, which might be successful if we acted on the European level," Macron tells franceinfo radio.

"People are unable to experience purchasing power, difficulties, and worry in their lives, and expect sums like this," Macron said, adding that otherwise "society will collapse."

Le Pen refuted his views.

"It's certainly astounding. It's even more shocking when a CEO speaks to BFM television about the company's difficulties and obtaining significant amounts," she said. One strategy to mitigate such remuneration was to develop staff shareholdings.

In a statement, the company claimed it does not comment on politicians' opinions, claiming that the organization had evolved from a near bankruptcy to a senior position under Tavares' leadership.

It stated that it had paid as much to employees as to shareholders - 1.9 billion euros - and that Tavares' pay was 90% variable based on company performance and lower than at competitors GM and Ford.

In a consultative vote, just over 52 percent of the company's shareholders voted against the compensation package.

($1 = 0.9257 euros)

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