Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. sales chief Reid Bigland sued the Italian-American automaker claiming the company opted to withhold 90% of his 2018 compensation because he has cooperated with a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, court documents filed on Wednesday show.
The SEC has been investigating the company’s sales reporting practices before the company changed them in July 2016, the automaker has said.
The suit said Bigland’s candor with U.S. investigators and “unwillingness to act as a scapegoat for defendants’ 30-year practice which predated him” resulted in the company retaliating “less than two months later by withholding his compensation.”
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement Bigland’s incentive pay was subject to a board committee determination and his “eligibility for his award remains subject to that determination and completion of a board-level evaluation of issues that are the subject to governmental investigations.”
The company said it would be inappropriate to comment further.
Fiat Chrysler in July 2016 revised more than five years of monthly U.S. vehicle sales figures to reflect a new reporting method and disclosed that the U.S. Justice Department and SEC were investigating.
The company had boasted of carving out year-over-year sales gains every month since April 2010, for a 75-month streak through June 2016. But it said that winning streak would have ended in 2013 under the revised reporting methodology.
The company said in its 2018 annual report it continued to cooperate but the investigations’ “outcome is uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time.” In April, Fiat Chrysler settled a sales reporting lawsuit by an Illinois dealership group.
Anti-Corruption Digest | June 7, 2019