Friday, October 12, 2007

Bush Chides CEO Compensation, but Only in Publicly Traded Companies

In a Wall Street Journal interview, President Bush came out swinging on publicly traded companies handling of CEO pay. Meanwhile, privately owned firms got a free lunch from the nation's Chief Executive. George said:

"Do I think some of the salaries are excessive at the top? I do, I don't think it's the role of government to regulate salary. But I do believe it's a role of boards of directors to be very transparent with shareholders about these different packages, the employment packages that these executives get."

Excessive executive compensation "just sends a signal of unfairness, and people in America want...fairness."

Transparency, fairness? People I know want a fair wage for hard work. They want to be treated decently by their employers. They hate being canned for no legitimate reason.

They don't like seeing one third of executives cheat on their incentive stock option compensation, with little to no legal accountability under the Bush administration. They hate seeing their friends jobs sent overseas and their benefits cut. Yet both happened in spades under this Chief Executive.

If George W. Bush truly believed in transparency and fairness, his statements would apply to all companies, publicly traded or not. Part of the run to private equity, from my viewpoint, is to get CEO pay and Board compensation out of the public eye. Behind closed doors, they can let their hair hang down, which leads me back to another sore subject. Will fair and open George Bush finally release documents on the attorney general firings? That resonates with more people than our President realizes. There's a bully and slippery snitch in just about every workplace.