Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Staggering CEO pay smashes all previous records

CEO pay reached astronomical levels last year, according to a new report whose author said he's never seen anything like it.

The 10 highest paid CEOs all took home more than $100 million, and two 'earned' more than $1 billion in a single year, according to GMI Ratings' 2013 Pay Survey.

"I have never seen anything like that," the report's author, Greg Ruel, told the Guardian. "Usually we have a few CEOs at the $100m-plus level but never the entire top 10."

Median workers' pay in the U.S. fell 9 percent since 1999.

McKesson CEO John Hammergren, who took home $131.2 million in 2011, didn't even make this year's list. Perhaps that's because investors said 'no' to his exorbitant pay package this year.

According to The Guardian,
...median household income, adjusted for inflation, was $51,017 in 2012, broadly unchanged from 2011. Wages for the average household have fallen about 9% from an inflation-adjusted peak of $56,080 in 1999. The census figures show a sharp recovery for those at the top of the wage scale as those at the bottom continue to see falls. 
Here are the top 10:
  1. Facebook, Inc., Mark Zuckerberg, $2,278,668,214 
  2. Kinder Morgan, Inc., Richard D. Kinder, $1,116,685,089 
  3. Sirius XM Radio Inc., Mel Karmazin, $255,355,676 
  4. Liberty Media Corporation, Gregory B. Maffei, $254,890,638 
  5. Apple Inc., Timothy D. Cook, $143,828,867 
  6. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc., Edward W. Stack, $142,052,496 
  7. Liberty Interactive Corporation, Gregory B. Maffei, $136,450,484 
  8. Starbucks Corporation, Howard Schultz, $117,562,601 
  9., inc., Marc Benioff, $109,544,875 
  10. Verisk Analytics, Inc., Frank J. Coyne, $100,432,117 
The report doesn't disclose the gap between the CEO's pay and the average worker's pay.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposes companies disclose the gap, and the Teamsters support that proposal. Take, for example, Hammergren. During his tenure as CEO at McKesson, the company paid nearly $1 billion in fines for Medicaid fraud and price fixing, while newly organized Teamsters at the company's Lakeland, Fla., warehouse can't afford health insurance.

Making CEO's explain to investors that there's a mind-boggling distance between their pay and their average workers' pay might just shame them into common decency.