Executive compensation is one of the most ironic hotly-debated topics out there. It’s hotly debated because people often complain that CEOs are overpaid. It’s ironic because most of the people who complain about excessive pay have the capacity to do something, yet they do nothing.You see, every year shareholders of a company are mailed a Form DEF 14A, also known as the proxy statement. In the proxy are the details of the company’s executive compensation plans, and they are typically written plain English. If shareholders don’t like the plan, they vote it down.
But many shareholders will receive the proxy in the mail and throw it right into the trash. And by default, they vote in favour of whatever plan is recommended by the Board.
Anyways, research firm Obermatt (via The Economist) computed the excess pay of CEOs of the S&P 100 companies. Excess pay is calculated as deserved pay less actual pay. Deserved pay is measured considering earnings growth and shareholder return and the compensation practices of peer group companies.
On the top of the “Most Overpaid” list is Occidental Petroleum’s Ray Irani. Irani is widely considered the poster child of excessive pay.
On the bottom are fan favourites Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.
Photo: The Economist
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