Saab has hit back at television reports in Sweden commenting on a decision to award its parent board’s chairman a EUR100,000 (US$144,000) pay increase.

The struggling automaker has had to cope with a blizzard of publicity surrounding the decision made in May, but has reacted angrily, branding the reports as “sensational.”

Earlier today (18 August), Sweden’s Shareholders Association, Aktiespararna, described the 500% increase to Swan chairman Hans Hugenholtz as “completely wrong,”  to just-auto, but the manufacturer has now defended the decision as being in line with senior Dutch remuneration.

“This compensation is a normal process and everything has been in the plans and known for a long [time] before the 17 May meeting – that was the official approval of it,” a Saab spokeswoman in Sweden told just-auto. “The changes were basically done because by acquiring the responsibilities of the various board members, the size of the company increased 100-fold and responsibility thereby also increased.

“This is in line with companies of a similar size in the Netherlands. They [TV reports] were saying people had fled the board of Saab Automobile – that is not true. The impression the TV gave was they were taking money retroactively and then leaving – that is not true – there is no-one who has resigned from the supervisory board.”

Saab operates three levels of board together with its parent organisation, with the top layer being the supervisory board, of which Hugenholtz is chairman. The next level down is the Spyker management board, on which Saab CEO Victor Muller sits. Below that is the Saab Automobile board.

The automaker concedes among the three boards “some people have left,” but counters reports saying everyone has left as “just not true.

“They drew a conclusion which we think is unfair,” said the spokeswoman.