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(Adds GM comment, details from filing, CEO and CFO comments on Cruise from earnings call, background, byline)
DETROIT, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The head of General Motors Co's Cruise self-driving car unit stands to make more than $179 million over the next decade if the technology subsidiary experiences a change in ownership or is listed publicly, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
Dan Ammann, who stepped down as GM's president and was named chief executive of Cruise at the start of this year, was awarded 16,914 restricted stock units for common shares of Cruise and stock options for 101,485 common shares of Cruise by the unit's board on Monday, GM disclosed in its annual 10K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Each share carries a value of $1,515, according to the filing.
"Mr. Ammann's compensation plan is consistent with CEO benchmarks from tech companies with similar market cap to Cruise and is heavily weighted toward the attainment of specific technology and commercial targets," GM spokesman Tom Henderson said in a telephone interview.
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra told analysts on a conference call on Wednesday after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings that the Detroit automaker was making "rapid progress" with the technology and this year was critical for the unit.
"I think it's in a strong position from funding," she said. "I think it's in a strong position as we continue to do the development."
Cruise has a value of about $14.6 billion despite no significant revenue and a product not ready for commercial launch. Japanese technology investment fund SoftBank Group Corp and Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co invested a total of $5 billion for separate minority stakes in Cruise.
GM spent $700 million on Cruise last year and expects to spend another $1 billion on the unit this year, GM Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara said on the earnings call.
Analysts have speculated that GM eventually will sell shares in Cruise or spin it off. Cruise, with more than 1,100 employees, is aiming to launch a robo-taxi service by the end of 2019.
The restricted stock units awarded to Amman vest over the next 10 years, ending on Oct. 15, 2028, if the shares meet a market value set by the Cruise board and only if "a change of control or initial public offering occurs before the 10th anniversary of the date of grant," according to the SEC filing. The stock options vest over the same period.
Ammann joined GM in 2010 from Morgan Stanley, where he was an adviser to GM's government-led bankruptcy restructuring in 2009. He became GM's president in 2014. (Reporting by Ben Klayman Editing by Leslie Adler)