Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Executive Pay: A Matter of Perspective

Bloomberg highlighted the plight of underpaid Japanese executives.

Japan is the land of the bargain-basement CEO.

Recent disclosure laws revealed how few Japanese CEO's make more than $1.1 million. Contrast that with average U.S. CEO compensation of $3.5 million.

Will this information entice American branded companies to go head hunting in Japan? Doubtful.

The pattern has been in place for some time:

Average public company CEO compensation is 400 times that of the average employee.

By contrast, the ratio of CEO pay to that of the average employee has remained around 22 in Britain, 20 in Canada and 11 in Japan.

While production seeks low wage sectors of the global economy, management resides in protected turf.

CEO's populate each other's boards. Executive compensation formulas peg other American branded corporations as "competitors" for leadership talent. Boards vote on pay packages, for themselves and executives. It's not unusual for a director to make $250,000 to $333,000 a year in compensation. Those on multiple boards make out like bandits.

It seems Bloomberg has a blind spot.