The SEC has just proposed a rule that will require all public companies to report the ratio between the total pay of the CEO and the median pay of all other employees (excluding the CEO). Some of the unintended consequences --particularly for employment-- will be severe.
When CEOs exceed expectations or outpace rivals they tend to reap big rewards and when they fall short of financial hurdles they tend to lose out on pay and bonuses. According to a reports from the Wall Street Journal based on a study by Equilar more and more S&P 500 CEOs have been clearing or exceeding the goals set by directors. But is this the complete picture? Since when is public company compensation representative for all CEOs?
Two contrary developments reveal decidedly mixed developments in CEO compensation. In order to justify its pay to its top executives, Citibank is forever fiddling with the rivals it compares itself with. Conversely, in a clear sign that it is unhappy with the direction of the company the board of J.C. Penney cut the pay of its CEO Ron Johnson by almost 97 percent.
CEO.com assembled a list of 10 “big-time CEOs” who earn a base salary of just $1 a year. At a time when most CEOs are notorious for enormous pay packages (on average $10.5 million, according to Forbes), these 10 have opted for something less lofty. They do have one thing in common: all are entrepreneurial with all but one—Eddie Lampert—having founded a business. Yes, Virginia, founder-entrepreneurs do think differently than manager-CEOs.
CEO pay is an emotional issue with some, but it as a business performance issue it may be beside the point. Simply said, reducing chief executive pay, while a nice symbolic gesture, is not going to materially improve profitability. Symbolism won’t pay shareholder dividends, won’t drive revenue and won’t better the bottom line. One expert suggests that more attention and energy should go into investigating supplier “salary” rather than CEO remuneration.
Cash compensation for S&P 500 corporate board directors increased by only 1 percent while total comp increased by 8 percent. Companies are moving away from compensation based upon meeting attendance. Despite long-standing criticism companies continue to offer benefits to directors.
In 2012, labor unions and associated organizers under the “Occupy” umbrella have been especially active in challenging executives’ pay, according to a recent report by James R. Copland, director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy. The Institute’s report is featured in ProxyMonitor.org, a publicly available resource containing searchable and sortable information on public company shareholder proposals.
We have to do better on CEO compensation or it will be the undoing of business.
Money isn't the great motivator people often suppose. In fact, excessive monetary rewards can lead to bad behaviors.
Chief Executive Group recently conducted a groundbreaking study of the compensation practices of private companies with revenues of $5 million to $5 billion. In our last issue, we provided some of the highlights about CEO compensation practices. This charticle focuses on some of the key findings related to other senior executives.