Top 10 Well-Compensated Execs of '09
Take a look at technology's top 10 highest-paid executives in 2009.
Executive pay has been a hot-button issue for awhile now, but it came into sharp focus when executives whose companies were taking bailout money hand-over-fist somehow managed to keep millions in bonus pay. After news broke that the government couldn't prevent payment of those bonuses, the public was furious and the outcry was loud.
In the aftermath, shareholders at several companies have demanded and been given a say on executive pay in hopes of preventing such excess. HP, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Intel are just a handful of them.
That said, it's fascinating how much CEOs have made -- even in the midst of recession. The subject came up recently when a coworker noted the discrepancy between the $84.5 million Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made in 2009 and the $26.5 million BMC Software's Robert Beauchamp -- the next highest-paid tech exec -- earned in the same period.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which became law just this summer, requires companies to disclose that pay gap. As Sam Pizzigati from the Institute for Policy Studies pointed out before the law passed:
Until now, we've only had broad "average" data on corporate pay gaps. We've been able to compare national CEO pay averages with national worker pay figures. But we've never been able to specify pay gaps within individual companies or compare the gaps between one corporation and another. This [provision] would let us do that. Corporations would be required to compute "the median annual total compensation of their employees (excluding the CEO)" and reveal "the ratio between CEO and employee pay."
I agree with Pizzigati's conclusion that the change should "reframe and recharge" the debate on executive compensation, especially if the discrepancy is as bad as I imagine it is.