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3M will can 1,500 workers as CEO Inge Thulin's pay continues to soar

3M's Inge Thulin is equally deft at windsor knots, whacking labor, and packing his pouches with greed like a hamster.

3M's Inge Thulin is equally deft at windsor knots, whacking labor, and packing his pouches with greed like a hamster.

When Swedish-born Inge Thulin was officially plucked to succeed Sir George Buckley as 3M's new CEO in 2012, annual profits for the scotch tape, respiratory mask, and Post-it note juggernaut sniffed $4.5 billion.

Take-home pay was even better in 2013, growing by almost five percent.

Thulin, who started working in sales and marketing for 3M Sweden in 1979, was rewarded for the company's good fortunes. His total compensation grew by double digits to $16.4 million. That was up from $14.8 million in 2012 — which, by the way, was a smoking 176 percent hike in pay from the year prior. When the Maplewood industrial conglomerate exceeded financial goals last year, Thulin scored a $3.5 million bonus, which brought his 2014 haul to more than $17 million.

But this year Thulin has lost some of his golden magic. 3M's sales are down by more than five percent.

Thulin, however, won't be taking the hit for the company's sluggish performance. His employees will.     

3M recently announced that it will clip 1,500 workers, or about 1.7 percent of its 88,000-worldwide labor force, at the start of next year. The move is framed in cost-cutting parlance. All those pink slips will amount to $130 million in savings for the company that's reported to be sitting on a pile of cash nearing $2 billion.     

Thulin, who was described in a 2012 Strib story as "kind of warm and fuzzy," told media outlets during a conference call last week that the "restructuring" is designed to make 3M “a stronger, more agile, more focused company.”

Which begs the question: Will Thulin accept lesser compensation to do the same?