Breakingviews

Hedge fund pay hauls a political-financial shame

By Edward Hadas
May 5, 2015

The top 25 managers took in $11.6 bln last year, Alpha magazine calculates. If these rewards were for building a stronger economy, the 0.001 percent’s political clout might still be troubling. But such gains for largely mediocre performance in secondary markets are shocking.

Banks risk provoking EU with bonus get-arounds

September 2, 2014

Firms are paying top staff extra “allowances” in response to European bonus caps. That avoids raising base salaries and keeps costs flexible. The risk is that successful avoidance of the rules will prompt policymakers to shift the attack to pay quantum rather than pay structure.

Buffett loses his voice – and maybe some sway

April 23, 2014

The Omaha billionaire said he didn’t vote against Coca-Cola’s controversial pay plan even though he disagreed with it, for fear of sending a wrong signal about the CEO. That’s an odd message to convey. It doesn’t mean Coke shouldn’t hear what its largest owner is saying, though.

AT&T board lets CEO off hook for bad call

February 22, 2012

Randall Stephenson’s total pay fell to $22 mln last year from $27 mln in 2010. That’s a light slap given the $4 bln break fee for the badly botched bid for T-Mobile USA. Investors can show their displeasure with directors for failing to hold the boss accountable – and should.

Globalization stops short at the corporate suite

By Christopher Swann
February 28, 2012

The global war for talent is a popular justification for exorbitant CEO pay. But with few exceptions, expat chiefs are still a tiny minority. It’s bad news for shareholders in high-pay hubs like the United States and Britain who could find better-value stewards overseas.

New York Times pay structure isn’t fit to print

March 14, 2012

The venerable U.S. newspaper group revealed that it rewards bosses with fat bonuses for a mere 1.6 pct return on capital. That’s a fraction of the company’s cost of funds, and much lower than its own previous standard. A high bar for journalists doesn’t extend to management.

GE offers Citi starting point for fixing CEO pay

April 20, 2012

Investors voted against Vikram Pandit’s comp largely due to his wooly incentive plan. Facing similar discontent last year, GE added decent hurdles to better align boss Jeff Immelt’s pay to the conglomerate’s performance and shareholder returns. Citi should go a step further.

Shareholder rage at bank pay reaches tipping point

April 27, 2012

A third of shareholders failed to back remuneration reports at both Credit Suisse and Barclays - after a similar protest at Citi. It may finally shame banks into dividing the spoils more equally with investors. But governments and customers will also want their pound of flesh.

Yahoo pays up for dream of CEO stardust

July 20, 2012

The fading search firm hopes Marissa Mayer is the ticket to a turnaround. After churning through several CEOs, it’s easy to see why the Google hotshot snagged a $70 mln pay deal. But as J.C. Penney with its ex-Apple boss shows, there are no magic fixes for deep problems.

Citi pay plan raises the bar, just not enough

February 22, 2013

Shareholders forced the mega-bank to rethink its compensation scheme for top executives. New, more rigorous targets for boss Michael Corbat and others are overdue. One important performance metric, however, seems to keep expectations too low.