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The Sunday (April 5) New York Times lists compensation for 200 chief executive officers in 2008. Their median pay went down 9 percent and average down 5 percent. This was decidedly not true for San Diego's two CEOs on the list. Qualcomm's Paul Jacobs's total pay soared 45 percent to $18.6 million. That was more than $10 million above the median of $8.4 million. The total pay of Sempra Energy's Donald Felsinger went up 27 percent to $9.1 million, which was $700,000 above the median of the 200 CEOs. Usually, utility executives' pay is not as high as that of execs in other industries. James Sinegal of Washington's Costco Wholesale -- a protege of San Diego's Sol Price -- is always cited as an executive who pulls down much less than his peers. Last year, his pay went up 27 percent. His cash pay of a hair under $500,000 was well below the $2.8 million median, and his total pay of $3.8 million was less than half the median.

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Visduh April 6, 2009 @ 7:40 a.m.

Sinegal is an amazing guy for sure. A couple years ago, he was taking a salary of only $1000 a day, $365,000 per year. When asked about it, he said that nobody was worth multi-millions, and that he was plenty well taken care of due to his extensive holdings of Costco stock. What can we do to get others to follow his example? He is certainly as effective as the average CEO--actually much better than average--and probably could demand many times what he earns.

But he probably also is using his limited salary as the benchmark for other salaries within Costco. That would keep the VP's in a range below $400K a year, and so on down. Let's hear it for good old Jim.


Don Bauder April 6, 2009 @ 7:53 a.m.

Response to post #1: I agree. Year after year, Sinegal has not only kept his own salary down, but Costco has consistently performed very well. In college, Sinegal began working for Sol Price. Unfortunately, after Costco merged with Price Co., the company headquarters was moved to Kirkland, Washington, and San Diego lost some jobs. One of the reasons was Sinegal's excellent management techniques. Best, Don Bauder


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