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Herbert Diess, the chief executive of Volkswagen (VOW.DE), topped the list of Germany’s highest paid CEOs on the German DAX in 2019, earning €9.9m (£8.9m, $11.3m), according to an annual survey by the Technical University of Munich and the German Association for the Protection of Securities (DSW).
In second place among the top earners on the DAX index of the country’s 30 most valuable companies came Merck (MRK) chief executive Stefan Oschmann, raking in €8.5m. Joe Kaeser, the head of Siemens (SIE.DE), came in third with earnings of €7.2m.
Former SAP chief executive Bill McDermott, who earned over €15m, would have beaten Diess last year, had he not resigned in October 2019.
The survey did not take into account the salaries at scandal-hit payments company Wirecard, whose annual report is not available yet. Wirecard declared insolvency last month after the revelation of a €1.9bn hole in its balance sheet.
Overall, board member salaries among DAX companies dipped slightly in 2019, by 0.3%, after a 3.5% drop in 2018. However, despite that slight drop, top DAX managers overall earned an average of 49 times what their employees made last year, at an average of €3.4m per each board member.
“The difference between the salaries of normal employees on the one hand and board members on the other is still huge," said Gunther Friedl from the TU Munich.
At the beginning of June this year, Volkswagen moved Diess out of his role as CEO of the VW brand replacing him with chief operating officer Ralf Brandstaetter from 1 July. The company said the move would allow Diess more leeway to carry out his job as the chief executive of the whole VW Group, which owns Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley.