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***In the table below, we show the ten highest cost executive teams and the ten lowest cost executive teams, and the percentage relationship between that compensation and net income.

Executive compensation and board largess with high paid executives is a hot topic recently. That spurred us to look comprehensively at some factual comparative data on the total cost of boards of directors and top executive teams among the S&P 500 companies (proxy SPY or IVV).

For that purpose, we utilized the corporate governance database provided by The Corporate Library (www.TheCorporateLibrary.com) which tracks corporate actions, including executive compensation, and ranks public companies on several dimensions of corporate governance.

We found The Corporate Library database to be an excellent resource on all manner of questions about corporate actions, ranging from proxy issues, to board composition and cross linkages, to executive compensation and other matters. They roll it all up into a net corporate governance rating.August 05, 2008

Board and Executive Compensation in SP 500
by Richard Shaw


A few of the highest and lowest paid executive teams

A few of the highest and lowest paid executive teams

Corporate Governance:  Independent Information and Analysis

Now in its tenth year, The Corporate Library® is the leading independent source for data and risk analysis of North American corporate governance, executive compensation, and director network interrelations.


What does it cost to attract first-class talent to a chief executive job? A lot. What does it cost to hire a clunker? Almost as much.

“Proper and fair? Or would it be more accurate to say, “entirely business as usual in the compensation game”?” – quote from this article



Special Report
CEO Compensation
04.30.08, 6:00 PM ET



As bad as this year’s numbers on Wall Street pay look, Bebchuk says the picture is going to look even darker next year. That’s because “2008 is going to be ugly for the financial sector,” he says.

But don’t look to find the greatest pain among Wall Street’s top bosses. Again it will be investors who bear the brunt.

“Because the reversal is going to be so painful and dramatic and long-term performance will be so much worse, the compensation policies will prove to be quite costly–excessively costly–to shareholders,” says Bebchuk.

GE Earnings Hit Wall Street

Wall Street’s Billionaires


Consultant Collusion

Compensation consultants are hired by boards to advise them on how much to pay executives. But their real value appears to be providing cover for lavish pay. In 2006 Countrywide Financial (nyse: CFC – news – people ) hired a consulting firm that had the temerity to suggest that boss Angelo Mozilo was overpaid at $103 million. It was a conspiracy, Mozilo shot back, in which boards are “under enormous pressure from the left-wing antibusiness press and the envious leaders of unions.” He countered by hiring Towers Perrin’s John England, whose numbers were more to his liking. Mozilo’s board relented, paying him a $10 million bonus just for staying on. Mozilo and his fellow directors soon began selling shares, even as the firm went $1.5 billion into debt to fund buybacks. It lost $19.7 billion in market value last year.


Big business has gone to considerable lengths to protect the status quo. Following Enron, when reform was the rage, executives grumbled about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s high cost. But they scaled the ramparts when the SEC proposed shareholder “proxy access,” meaning the right to nominate independent director candidates who might threaten the pay orgy. They lobbied the White House and got the initiative killed. A chastened SEC responded by revamping pay disclosure rules two years ago. Gaming them has proven a cinch. All told, executive compensation has risen from 40 times that of the average worker in 1980 to 433 times now. The top-paid executives at the country’s public companies now collect pay equal to 10% of corporate profit, according to a 2005 study by Lucian Bebchuk of Harvard Business School and Yaniv Grinstein of Cornell University.

[from – Forbes article,
What does it cost to attract first-class talent to a chief executive job? A lot. What does it cost to hire a clunker? Almost as much. ]


We All Pay for Wall Street
August 23 – A recent Government Accountability Office study found that two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005. These same companies reported trillions of dollars in earnings. By Sarah Anderson and Chuck Collins, published in Free Lance-Star.
from –

Global Economy

For more than a quarter century, IPS has been a leader in strengthening citizen responses to the global economy through research, writing, film, education, and coalition building. The project has produced dozens of books, articles, films, and educational materials.
Recent Work

Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay

By Global Economy

Author(s): Sarah Anderson, John Cavanagh, Chuck Collins, Mike Lapham, Sam Pizzigati

The U.S. tax code is riddled with loopholes that allow top corporate and financial leaders to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Ordinary taxpayers wind up picking up the bill – to the tune of more than $20 billion per year. All five executive-friendly tax loopholes highlighted in the report are the targets of Congressional reforms. However, these efforts have stalled in the face of fierce opposition from corporate lobby groups. The report also finds that S&P 500 CEOs averaged $10.5 million in pay in 2007, 344 times the pay of typical American workers. Compensation levels for private investment fund managers soared even further. The top 50 hedge and private equity fund managers averaged $588 million each, more than 19,000 times as much as typical U.S. workers earned.




Some companies that used heavy doses of performance-based pay to compensate their chief executives have also been involved in accounting scandals. Here are three egregious examples.

Executive Pay
It Paid to Cheat
Maya Roney, 05.09.05


Special Report
CEO Compensation
Edited by Scott DeCarlo, 04.21.05, 6:00 PM ET

2004   2005

The heads of America’s 500 biggest companies received an aggregate 54% pay raise last year. As a group, their total compensation amounted to $5.1 billion, versus $3.3 billion in fiscal 2003.

We define total compensation as salary and bonus plus “other” compensation, which includes vested restricted stock grants and “stock gains,” the value realized from exercising stock options during the just-concluded fiscal year.

For those companies in which the chief executive has been in office six years or longer, we looked at average six-year total compensation and compared this to long-term stock performance of industry peers as well as the overall stock market. We ranked 189 chief executives in our performance versus pay scorecard. More…

Sort List By:
Rank | Name | Company | Age | Total Compensation

The Best and Worst Bosses
By Scott DeCarlo
Some chief executives really earn their pay. Some don’t. Some are so bad they should be paying their shareholders.

Paychecks on Steroids
By Michael K. Ozanian and Elizabeth MacDonald
Basing the boss’ compensation on results delivered is a noble concept. But it has a dark side.

It Paid to Cheat
By Maya Roney
Some companies that used heavy doses of performance-based pay to compensate their chief executives have also been involved in accounting scandals. Here are three egregious examples.

Permanent Help
By Peter Kafka
Jeff Joerres retooled staffing giant Manpower – and didn’t ask for a fat pay package.

Crying All the Way to the Bank
By Michael Maiello
Mediocre results and gilt-edged paychecks land the Bank of New York’s Thomas Renyi near the bottom of our rankings.
See Also
Turnaround CEOs
By Lisa DiCarlo
What does it take to successfully turn around a troubled company?

The 400 Best Big Companies
Edited by Scott DeCarlo
The crème de la crème of corporate America.

America’s Most Overworked CEO Directors
By Virginia Citrano
These five chief executives have significant boardroom commitments outside of their day jobs.

The CEO Network
Forbes.com staff
Our exclusive members-only area for the world’s business leaders.