Average Fortune 500 CEO Annual Pay Now > $15 Million. A YEAR.
“A Walmart employee earning the company’s median salary of $19,177 would have to work for more than a thousand years to earn the $22.2 million that Doug McMillon, the company’s chief executive, was awarded in 2017.”
–“Want to Make Money Like a C.E.O.? Work for 275 Years”; The NYT (5/25/2018).
I know how to rein in truly outrageous executive pay — or, at least put the brakes on it.
It’s not through tax reform, better disclosure, or overhauling corporate governance generally (all strategies which have abysmally failed, by the way; average CEO compensation is up more than six-fold(!) in the last 25 years).
No, it’s through semantics.
My proposal: business journalists should stop writing that such-and-such CEO “was awarded a gazillion dollars in pay” for the most recent fiscal year.
Instead, they should say that “the CEO awarded themselves” a gazillion dollars.
Sadly — and infuriatingly — that’s much closer to the truth.
After all, while exec comp is putatively set by the board of directors . . . who nominates directors?
Who hires the compensation consultants — lavishly paid, of course — that advise those boards?
Students who grade their own papers give themselves “A’s.”
CEO’s who effectively set their own pay . . . help themselves to untold riches.