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CEO Daily Brief – Oct. 25, 2010

U.S. Companies Say in Survey They Plan to Increase Capital Spending A survey watched closely by many CEOs says that …

U.S. Companies Say in Survey They Plan to Increase Capital Spending

A survey watched closely by many CEOs says that more U.S. companies plan to increase spending on new equipment over the next 12 months after an increase in sales and profits.

The percentage of businesses projecting to boost capital investments exceeded the share intending to cut spending by 33 points, up from 25 points in July, according to the survey by the National Association for Business Economics.

In addition, 59 percent of respondents said sales rose in the third quarter, the most since January 2006 and up from 52 percent in the group’s previous survey.

"The recovery from the Great Recession continues, with business conditions improving," William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago who analyzed the results, said in a statement.

For more information from the survey as reported by Bloomberg, please click here.

Long-term Incentives Are Important When Considering CEO Salary

Robert S. Silberman, the chairman and chief executive of Arlington, Va.-based Strayer Education, was the highest paid CEO among the Washington, D.C. region’s largest public companies in 2009 with total compensation of $41.9 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2009, one $40 million stock award pushed his salary up, and it may not be worth that much when it vests 10 years from now. He must achieve a set of performance goals within the next decade to grab hold. Without the award, the chief’s compensation package would rank in the bottom half of the region’s top 100 highest-paid executives.

Companies such as Strayer argue that the inclusion of restricted stock in the SEC’s annual compensation table based on its grant date distorts what their CEO actually took home last year.

To read more about how The Washington Post analyzes CEO take-home pay, please click here.

Businesses Are Fed Up With Billing Used By Their Law Firms

CEOs and other top executives who work at powerful corporations all the way to those who lead startups are fed up with the traditional law firm. A recent survey by BTI Consulting Group found that executives at 87 percent of corporations said they would drop their outside legal representation if they could.

Little wonder corporations are hell-bent on driving down legal costs. One approach has been simply to target hourly rates. A smarter strategy, though, is to demand that outside legal representatives define their scope of work, implement "right fit" staffing models and achieve predictive, cost-based accountability – the same as a corporation expects from any other service provider.

In addition, corporate clients should demand that their law firms provide business judgment that is commensurate with their legal judgment. They can and should seek firms that understand their businesses and the industries in which they operate.

To read more from Forbes about how corporations can get a handle on outside legal fees, please click here.

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