April 12, 2011

CEO Pay: Going Up and Up

I’m not sure what you heard from your spouse, friends and colleagues about the news from the past week that CEO pay has gone up in the double digits over the past year, but I’m getting an earful. They are angry that too many CEO are being rewarded for laying people off in a poor economy or having their incentive packages reset at the bottom of the market. They have also read that there is a widening gap between the CEO’s pay and the median pay of other Named Executive Officers. And the recent Transocean flap doesn’t help things – here’s an excerpt from this Houston Chronicle article:

Only a wily compensation consultant could come up with a rationale whereby Transocean not only rewards its executives but touts its safety record after an accident like that. Only a tone-deaf board could endorse such a proposal and only a myopic corporate counsel could allow it to be placed in the company’s proxy statement.

Anyways, here are the two 2010 CEO pay studies that have been released so far:

USA Today article – up 27% (with GMI data)

NY Times article – up 12% (with Equilar data)

And this Gretchen Morgenson NY Times’ column entitled “Enriching a Few at the Expense of Many” is quite thought-provoking, featuring a money manager who uses pay as a “crucial tire” to kick when making investment decisions and how companies overseas seem to do a better job of paying their CEOs.

I’m still in the process of developing the agenda for “The Say-on-Pay Workshop: 8th Annual Executive Compensation Conference,” but I do know it will feature a number of prominent investors since they are so important going forward in a say-on-pay world. Remember that this conference is paired with the “6th Annual Proxy Disclosure Conference” and they will be held on November 1st-2nd in San Francisco and via video webcast. Register now to obtain a 25% Early Bird Discount!

Crowdsourcing Poll: How Should CEOs Be Paid?

On the heels of my popular crowdsourcing Flintstones poll – thousands participated (and it’s still available) – I have put together this silly CEO pay crowdsourcing poll, which is also presented below:

The Forbes Fictional 15

Hat tip to Lois Yurow for pointing out this hilarious “The Forbes Fictional 15.” Here is an excerpt from the opening:

You’re not imagining it: The rich do keep getting richer. Even the fictionally rich. The members of our 2011 list of wealthiest fictional characters have an average net worth of $9.86 billion, up 20% from last year. In aggregate, the Fictional 15 are worth $131.55 billion -more than the gross domestic product of New Zealand.

– Broc Romanek