This new report ought to become an annual exercise.
You may already think most — if not all — CEOs of major U.S. companies fully qualify as overpaid. But who among them rate as the most overpaid?
The shareholder advocacy group As You Sow has just released a list of the 100 S&P 500 CEOs the group sees as the most deserving of this distinction.
Topping the list: Anthony Petrello of the oil drilling company Nabors Industries.
Shareholders at Nabors, As You Sow’s heavily researched 40-page report details, suffered net losses of nearly 21 percent during the period 2009-2013 — and yet Petrello saw a 2013 payout of $68.2 million. The firm earned additional demerits for giving Petrello massive bonuses not conditioned on company performance.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nabors Industries ranks as one of only two companies whose shareholders have voted down executive pay packages four years in a row. But since such “say on pay” votes are only advisory, the Nabors board went ahead and doled out the dough anyway.
Report author Rosanna Landis Weaver points out that the problem of excessive compensation affects all of us. CEO pay excess is expanding our inequality — and draining value from our pension funds.
“The pay packages analyzed in this report are from the companies that the majority of retirement funds are invested in,” Landis Weaver points out. “If someone has a 401(k) through their employer, it’s likely they are invested in a company with an overpaid CEO.”
Let’s hope As You Sow makes the top 100 overpaid CEO list an annual exercise in shaming the worst offenders of executive excess.
Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project and co-edits Inequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies. @Anderson_IPS
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