Executive Bonuses Bounce Back

by Joann S. Lublin for The Wall Street Journal, March 18th, 2011.

For many U.S. chief executives, bonuses bounced back last year at a speedy clip.

CEO bonuses at 50 major corporations jumped a median of 30.5%, the biggest gain in at least three years, according to a study of the first batch of corporate CEO pay disclosures by consulting firm Hay Group for The Wall Street Journal.

Top executives collect a lot of different types of pay, including salaries, long-term equity awards and bonuses tied to corporate performance. Bonuses in general are rebounding as some hard-hit industries like autos recover and corporate profits climb.

Under the new financial-overhaul law that took effect this year, every business whose stock-market value exceeds $75 million must let investors voice their views on rewards for the top brass at annual meetings.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and Beazer Homes USA Inc. have already gotten a thumbs down from investors. Five others won support from less than 70% of the votes, according to Institutional Shareholder Services, which advises big investors like mutual funds and pension funds.

Hay Group reviewed proxy statements filed since Oct. 1 by companies with at least $4 billion in annual revenue. The 50 CEOs in the sample collected a total of $126.1 million in 2010 bonuses, up from about $83 million a year earlier. (continue reading… )



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