DETROIT -- General Motors boosted Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson's pay package by 44 percent last year as the value of his stock awards significantly increased because of a change in how the automaker paid out the shares.Akerson, 64, earned $11.1 million in salary and stock awards last year, compared with $7.7 million in 2011, according to GM's annual proxy statement, filed Thursday with regulators.His annual salary remained steady at $1.7 million, but his stock awards rose to $9.3 million from $5.9 million.The compensation increase came even though GM's 2012 earnings fell $2.7 billion from 2011. The company made $4.86 billion last year, hurt by a $1.7 billion loss in Europe and weaker profits in North America. However, GM's stock price jumped 38 percent during the year to finish 2012 at $28.83.GM linked the substantial increase in compensation to a change in the mix of how Akerson is paid. The automaker granted him more salary stock units, which vest immediately, in case he retires before the three-year vesting period for restricted shares is complete.In January, Akerson told reporters that he expects to remain in the job next year, but he wouldn't comment beyond that. His stock awards also include about $2 million in shares that he received in 2012 for 2011 performance.Akerson, a former telecommunications and private equity executive, replaced Ed Whitacre as GM CEO in September 2010 and became board chairman in January 2011. GM has complained that pay for Akerson and other executives isn't competitive with that at similar companies because of government restrictions.GM employs about 3,500 people at its Arlington assembly plant, and GM Financial is based in downtown Fort Worth.The Treasury Department limits GM executive pay because the company took $49.5 billion in government bailout funds in 2008 and 2009.GM shares rose 22 cents to $30.67 in afternoon trading.