How Abercrombie Justifies Paying CEO Mike Jeffries More During A Downturn

mike jeffries CEO Abercrombie Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries is one of the most overpaid executives, according to a recent report by shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis about executive compensation. 

Abercrombie has floundered since 2009, when it nearly didn’t turn a profit. Since then, the preppy clothing company has struggled to connect with increasingly alternative customers. 

But through the downturn, Abercrombie has continued giving Jeffries insane perks. 

In 2011, it paid him $4 million to stop using the company jet, according to the report. This year, his compensation package was padded with access to lucrative stock appreciation rights. 

Shareholders are disgruntled about his insane pay—only 23% approved his compensation package at the annual meeting in June. He earned $8.16 million in 2012. 

So how does Abercrombie justify padding Jeffries’ benefits, even while the company flounders under his leadership? 

By citing the incredible impact he’s had on Abercrombie & Fitch as we know it. 

Jeffries, who has been CEO for about 20 years, is “effectively the founder” of modern-day Abercrombie, the compensation committee said at the meeting. 

Before he took over, Abercrombie was known as a store for outdoorsman. Jeffries transformed it into a sexy teen destination that was constantly making headlines. 

Still, it’s been well over a decade since Abercrombie experienced its heyday.

Most recently, Jeffries has been criticised for his flailing international expansion plan, and for hurting brand perception by saying he only wants beautiful people to shop there. 

Abercrombie’s compensation committee has given no indication that Jeffries’ pay will take a hit as a result of these missteps.

His pay package shows the power he still wields over the brand. 

Here are the 10 companies with the most overpaid execs, according to the report: 

1. Hewlett-Packard 
2. Dean Foods 
3. Citigroup Inc. 
4. Valero Energy 
5. Abercrombie & Fitch 
6. Lockheed Martin 
7. Safeway 
8. J.C. Penney 
9. Hospira
10. Bank of New York Mellon 

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