Executive Excess has reported annually on excessive CEO compensation since 1994.
This 20th anniversary Executive Excess report examines the "performance" of the 500 corporate chief executives who have ranked among America's 25 highest-paid CEOs in one or more of the past 20 years.
The report’s key finding: Nearly 40 percent of the CEOs on these highest-paid lists eventually ended up “bailed out, booted, or busted.”
· The Bailed Out: CEOs whose firms either ceased to exist or received taxpayer bailouts after the 2008 financial crash held 22 percent of the slots in our sample. Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers enjoyed one of Corporate America’s largest 25 paychecks for eight consecutive years — until his firm went belly up in 2008.
· The Booted: Not counting those on the bailed out list, another 8 percent of our sample was made up of CEOs who wound up losing their jobs involuntarily. Despite their poor performance, the “booted” CEOs jumped out of the escape hatch with golden parachutes valued at $48 million on average.
· The Busted: CEOs who led corporations that wound up paying significant fraud-related fines or settlements comprised an additional 8 percent of the sample. One CEO had to pay a penalty out of his own pocket for stock option back-dating. The other companies shelled out payments that totaled over $100 million per firm.
“This report should put an end to any remaining sense that we have ‘pay for performance’ in Corporate America,” notes Sarah Anderson, a co-author of all 20 IPS annual Executive Excess reports. “Without strong action from regulators, lawmakers, and shareholders, this broken CEO pay system will continue to undermine our economy.”
The two-minute video above uses animation to dramatize the abysmally bad performance of executives at the upper-most echelon of Corporate America. The report also includes three infographics illustrating how our executive reward system encourages CEOs to act recklessly -– at worker, consumer and taxpayer expense.