Ken Harrison 10:30 a.m., Dec. 10
CEOs Who Chopped Most Heads Raked in Most Pay
Chief executives who slashed payrolls the most took home 42% more compensation in 2009 than the average chief executive of Standard & Poor's 500 companies, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank that focuses on national issues. The top 50 CEOs who laid off the most workers last year received an average $12 million in salary, well above the $8.5 million S&P 500 average. Just one egregious example: American Express received $3.4 billion in taxpayer bailout funds. The company laid off 4,000 workers. The chief executive, Kenneth Chenault, took home $16.8 million, including a $5 million cash bonus.
The think tank says that CEO remuneration dropped somewhat in 2009 and 2008 from the previous years. However, adjusted for inflation, CEO pay in 2009 was more than double the CEO pay average during the 1990s, quadruple the pay average of the 1980s, and eight times the CEO average for the decades of the mid-20th century.