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|Articles - October 2012|
|Monday, September 24, 2012|
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Stock and option awards have proliferated since the 1990s.
This is evident with our sampling of Oregon CEOs: For the first time in five years, possibly longer, stock awards accounted for more pay (38%) than options (17%) and are the largest component.
With so much of it valued in stock, it’s no surprise that CEO pay rises and falls, often in tandem with the company stock price. Stock and option awards accounted for 63% of Equilar’s S&P 500 CEO pay in 2011, and 55% of the 20 Oregon CEOs' pay, up from 43% in 2007.
Restricted stock, subject to vesting periods or other conditions, and performance shares, subject to meeting performance targets, have risen in proportion to options, notes Lindner, after an accounting change in the early 2000s made companies expense option grants the same as stock. Prior to that, options were most of the equity in CEO pay.
14 top 20 CEOs received an increase in total pay this last fiscal year.
CEOs who received less included Precision Castparts’ Mark Donegan, Columbia Sportswear’s Tim Boyle, Mentor Graphics’ Walden Rhines and Umpqua Bank’s Raymond Davis, all companies whose annual net income grew.
Notably, Mentor Graphics faced pressure in recent years from well-known activist investor Carl Icahn, who got three of his nominees elected to the board. But Rhines has led the company back to profitability the past two years, and Mentor’s board has managed to fend off Icahn’s attempts to shake it up, replacing two of his picks this year.
All 20 companies passed their most recent “Say on Pay” votes.
One of the first rules to be enforced from 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act requires companies to hold nonbinding "Say On Pay" votes at annual shareholder meetings, asking investors to OK executive comp plans. This year, Columbia Sportswear had the highest pay approval, 99.6%, while Greenbrier and Schnitzer Steel had the lowest, 52.1% and 58.6%.
Boyd thinks that Say on Pay has had a positive impact on company engagement with shareholders, particularly larger institutional investors. “For the most part they all like it,” he says, “and I think companies are finding value in it. What it’s doing is really opening up the dialog between companies and shareholders.”
CEO pay may be an issue to some investors, but not all. George Hosfield, the chief investment officer of Portland-based Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, which manages more than $3 billion in mostly large-cap equities, says this is not a criterion by which he screens companies. “We’re more concerned with CEO competence than we are the compensation,” he says.
Hosfield says that “the more transparency, more sunlight, the better as a general sense,” but he also worries that the cost of regulations like Say on Pay could hurt performance, especially at smaller companies less able to absorb the cost. “Regulation with respect to how costly and burdensome it is as an impediment to business has gone up exponentially in the last decade.”
The prospect of more Dodd-Frank and other regulations hitting small companies could make it a little tougher for our CEOs to do their job and for boards to govern them. But greater regulation has boosted communication between executives, boards and shareholders, as well as cast much more light on CEO pay. At least for now, the majority of the 20 companies we tracked are making a bigger profit and rewarding their CEOs with a bigger paycheck.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF
An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.
Friday, January 02, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The University of Oregon football team looked unstoppable on the field Jan. 1 — and the university is reaping the benefits of the new postseason format.
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The official launch will be Jan. 14.