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UAW Vice President Joe Ashton nominated to GM's board

United Auto Workers Region 9 Director Joe Ashton makes a point to the audience during a "Save America Rally" at the Delphi Plant in Lockport
United Auto Workers Region 9 Director Joe Ashton makes a point to the audience during a "Save America Rally" at the Delphi Plant in Lockport

By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - United Auto Workers Vice President Joe Ashton has been nominated to General Motors Co's board as the representative for the healthcare trust for retired GM workers, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

GM also reiterated that Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, who is grappling with a massive recall of vehicles with ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths, would receive more than $14 million in cash and stock this year.

Ashton, 65, is the head of the UAW's General Motors department and will retire from the union in June. If elected, he will be begin his term in August.

GM has also nominated Steve Girsky, 51, to remain on the board as Ashton takes his place as the health trust's representative, according to the SEC filing. Girsky, GM's former vice chairman, began his tenure on the automaker's board in July 2009.

In addition to heading the GM department for the union, Ashton has been instrumental in increasing the UAW's membership among casino workers. He joined the UAW in 1969 and has been a member of its international staff for 28 years.

The retiree healthcare trust, a voluntary employees beneficiary association, or VEBA, received GM stock in the company's bankruptcy restructuring in 2009, and got a seat on the board at that time.

The VEBA, as of April 1, owned 140.15 million shares of GM common stock, or about 8.7 percent of outstanding shares.

Ashton and Girsky will be on a slate of 12 candidates for the GM board to be voted on by shareholders at the company's annual meeting on June 10 in Detroit.

In the SEC filing mentioning the board membership nominations, GM affirmed plans for Barra to receive $14.4 million in executive compensation this year.

Financial rewards for top executives would be more closely tied to performance than in recent years, the filing said, adding that portions of compensation would have to be approved by shareholders at the June 10 meeting.

Former CEO Dan Akerson had signaled last December that the company planned to align compensation with financial and operation goals such as global market share and vehicle quality.

Barra, 52, took over for Akerson as CEO in mid-January. Akerson maintained a senior adviser position with GM and will serve in that position until he leaves the company in July, the filing said.

Akerson received just over $9 million last year, down from $11.1 million in 2012. Barra's 2013 compensation, when she was GM's global product development chief, was $5.2 million. Girsky's 2013 compensation as vice chairman and head of corporate strategy and business development was about $6.4 million.

After GM received about $50 billion in a taxpayer bailout, pay for its executives was restricted by the U.S. government. The restrictions were eliminated when the U.S. Treasury sold the last of its ownership five months ago.

GM also disclosed that 2014 cash and stock compensation for President Dan Ammann and Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens will be $6.8 million and $4 million, respectively.

Under the company's long-term incentives plan for 2014 to 2016, GM proposes awarding to 1,600 executive employees stock now valued at about $231 million, which must be approved by shareholders. This includes the top executives like Barra and Ammann.

If Ashton is approved and Girsky is re-elected, the GM board will have 12 people, down from its current 14 members. Leaving the board are David Bonderman, Robert Krebs and Cynthia Telles.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Tom Brown)

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