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Chrysler establishes charity in CEO's name

The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Chrysler is setting up a $38.2 million charitable foundation to honor its CEO, who refuses to take a salary from the company.

The automaker's Board of Directors will spend the money during the next five years to honor Sergio Marchionne, who also is CEO of Italian automaker Fiat SpA, Chrysler said Wednesday in a statement.

Money from the foundation initially will be spent to educate children of Chrysler employees, but it also will support other charitable causes, the company said.

Marchionne, who is widely credited with saving Chrysler after its 2009 bankruptcy, has never taken a salary from the company. But last year his compensation package from Fiat and its industrial company was $22.2 million, most of it in stock options.

Chrysler has gone from nearly running out of cash in 2008 to posting $1.29 billion in net profits through September of this year. Sales in the key U.S. market are up 22 percent through November. Marchionne has integrated a lot of the companies' operations, and both companies are sharing engines and other technology.

Chrysler said in the statement that it will contribute an amount equal to the value of five million Chrysler shares to the foundation over the next five years. The company valued each share at $7.63 in its 2011 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The first contribution to the foundation will be made in December of 2013, and it will begin making awards in 2014, the company said. More specific information ill come next year.

"Creating this foundation is a fitting tribute to all that has been accomplished at Chrysler," Ronald Thompson, the company's lead director, said in the statement.