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C.E.O. Pay Remains Stratospheric, Even at Companies Battered by Pandemic

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And according to the security files, a few are quickly amassing new wealth. Chad Richison, founder and chief executive of an Oklahoma software company, Paycom, is valued at more than $ 3 billion and was awarded $ 211 million last year when his company made $ 144 million in profits. John Legere, the former CEO of T-Mobile, received $ 137.2 million last year in a reward for taking over rival Sprint.

“We created this class of centimillionaires and billionaires who were not good for this country,” said Nell Minow, vice chairman of ValueEdge Advisors, an investment advisory firm. “You can build a grand piano on a museum. But it’s not infrastructure – it’s not middle class. “

The gap between executive pay and average pay has been growing for decades. According to the Economic Policy Institute, senior executives in large companies earn, on average, 320 times as much as their typical employees. In 1989, this ratio was 61 to 1. From 1978 to 2019, the pay for typical employees increased by 14 percent. For CEOs, it rose 1,167 percent

The pandemic only exacerbated these disparities as hundreds of companies awarded their executives compensation packages that were worth significantly more than most Americans will earn in their lifetime.

“In my opinion, they are the corollary of our full acceptance of shareholder capitalism, beginning with the corporate attacks of the 1980s, to the exclusion and victim of everyone else, including American workers,” said Robert Reich, a labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. “The compensation packages reflect rising share prices, which at least in part reflect the willingness, if not the willingness of companies to cut payroll at the slightest provocation.”

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Updated

April 23, 2021 at 1:31 p.m. ET

AT&T, the media conglomerate, lost $ 5.4 billion and cut thousands of jobs during the year. John Stankey, the executive director, received $ 21 million for his work in 2020 compared to $ 22.5 million in 2019.

T-Mobile announced that it would create new jobs through the merger with Sprint, but has already initiated layoffs. In 2020, it generated $ 3.1 billion. In addition to Mr. Legere’s stroke of luck, the company has awarded current CEO Mike Sievert $ 54.9 million.

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Robert Dunfee