AUTOS: Time to Take Stock

Time to Take Stock

Life has been tough at General Motors. The No. 1 U.S. automaker has shut plants, laid off thousands of workers and otherwise struggled to regain an < eroding market share. Now, with labor contract talks coming soon, GM is taking a new step on the road to austerity: lavish annual cash bonuses for executives will be replaced by stock options tied to GM's financial performance.

But the cash-bonus plan, in use since 1918, enjoyed one last hurrah. Chairman Roger Smith and 5,459 fellow employees received $169 million in bonuses for 1986, a year in which company profits dropped by $1 billion....

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