The Wall Street Journal reported the results of an early CEO compensation survey today, based on the reports of 50 large companies. They found that CEO pay was up 6.9% (about 50% faster growth than last year), with pay shifting a bit toward cash bonuses and away from equity. The companies in the early survey are there because they report earlier, not because they were selected at random, so it’s too soon to say if these results will be very representative. The Journal’s more comprehensive survey of 300 companies will be released next month. You can read their article here: http://on.wsj.com/1GdYKhi.
It’s worth mentioning that the shift to cash the Journal is trumpeting is mostly in the form of cash bonuses, not salary. Those bonuses are still tied to bottom-line corporate results, so this is not a shift in the direction I advocate, toward simple guaranteed salaries and away from “performance pay.” Also, the shift was not very large; cash payments overall rose from 35% of the total package to 37%. They might just as easily have emphasized that pension gains rose from 4.6% to 6.8% (though some of this change may have been due to rising life expectancies’ impact on guaranteed payments). Not much room for optimism in these numbers, but again, the early survey often shows markedly different results than the more comprehensive survey in May.