Think really hard about what you do for a living. Write down all of your responsibilities at work; create a list of everything you do on a daily basis. Look up how much the median wage is for each of those jobs and then ask yourself: am I getting paid for the work I’m giving out?
Because one CEO told an audience at an Aspen Ideas festival that he was being paid too much.
David Dillon, the former CEO of Kroger, told the festival that during his last year on the job, his pay, which clocked in at $13 million, “even seems ludicrous to me.” He further clarified that the package wasn’t ludicrous when it first came together, but it gradually rose as the company’s stock skyrocketed, and much of his compensation was tied to the stock price. He told the audience that:
“I don’t really defend that amount, that even seems ludicrous to me. I generally hit the 25th percentile on the bottom side.”
He added that, for compensation, that was “really damn high.”
During a follow-up interview with Quartz, Dillon added that his use of the word “ludicrous” was in comparison “to what I thought was a more logical level of pay for the year.”
He also defended the idea of designing executive compensation so that CEOs “have enough shareholder interest that they are mentally aligned with thinking about what should a long-term shareholder want out of an organization,” while on the panel.
While speaking to Quartz, he said that he personally believed that executive pay has gotten “too high” and that it should be “addressed in appropriate ways.” He added that,
“Anybody who looks at CEO pay, even if it was reasonably based, they would say that person is paid way too much. I don’t dispute that they ought to be paid really well. It’s just that I think it’s gotten a little bit out of hand.”
The numbers cited by ThinkProgress back him up, too:
The numbers back him up. Median CEO pay hit a record earlier this year, breaching the $10 million mark. It rose more than 50 percent over the last four years, while the average American saw her pay increase just 1.3 percent over the last year. Chief executive pay has risen 127 times faster than worker pay over the last three decades. The ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 259.9-to-1 last year. That compares to a ratio of 20-to-1 in 1965 and even just 87.3-to-1 in the early 90s. Executive pay is even growing faster than pay for the top 1 percent.
Meanwhile, there’s no evidence to suggest that paying CEOs top dollar means that companies get a better performance, especially relating to profitability, revenue, or stock return. In fact, some studies have revealed the opposite: paying CEOs more results in a worse performance, turning them into a liability. Then, consider that despite attempts to tie pay to company performance, companies routinely game that system and ensure that their CEO gets his bonuses and payouts. Even better, nearly four in ten of the highest-paid CEOs over the last 20 years were fired because they committed fraud, over oversaw a company bailout.
Just think: they get paid more to do less, ruin their company, and destroy the lives of the people who work there. Still think you get paid enough for your job?