Whoops! Our CEO Made $10 Million More Than We Said. Why Top Companies Have Misreported CEO Pay
At least 16 of the U.S.’s top companies had to adjust their reported 2016 pay for their top executives by more than 10%, according to a new analysis of compensation data.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that there’s a variety of reasons for these mistakes—which happen regularly, as the same thing happened with 17 S&P 500 firms for 2015.
In some cases, the errors are revealed when companies double-check their figures for Securities and Exchange Commission filings. That’s what happened with Laboratory Corp. of America (LH), which said in March that CEO David King had made $1.5 million in 2016, then revised the figure up to $10.9 million a week later.
United Rentals Inc. (URI) made a particularly special mistake when it said earlier this year that CEO Michael Kneeland had taken home $1.6 million in 2016—there was a digit missing, and he actually made $11.6 million.
For computer processor firm AMD (AMD), apparently it was a consultant who was to blame for the mistaken claim in last year’s proxy that CEO Lisa Su got $3.6 million in stock awards a few years back, rather than the $4.4 million she actually took.
Also in 2015, packaging firm WestRock (WRK) paid CEO Steven Voorhees $5.6 million in stock awards—only it didn’t. That’s the figure it first reported, but then it realized that the stock grant was twice what was allowed under WestRock’s rules. The company had to retroactively reduce Voorhees’s award, and he had to give back over 20,000 shares, give up over 50,000 unvested shares, and repay almost $25,000 in dividends.