The Conference Board’s CEO pay study—the most comprehensive annual review of pay practices—comes out later this morning. CEO Daily got an exclusive early look. Some takeaways:
—Median CEO compensation increased 9.9% in 2017.
—The biggest companies saw the smallest increases. CEOs at companies with revenues of $25 billion to $49.9 billion were down 7%; those at companies with $50 billion and more were up just 1.4%.
—The highest paid CEOs of the nearly 2,500 in the study were Hock Tan of Broadcom and Frank Bisignano of First Data, with total comp of $103 million and $102 million, respectively—almost all in stock awards (base salaries were $1.1 million and $1.3 million). Both are new to the Top 25 list.
—The number of women on the Top 25 list dropped from 4 to 3, with Oracle’s Safra Catz ranking highest at No. 18 with $40.7 million.
—Full value stock awards—including restricted stock that vests over time—have almost entirely replaced stock options as a component of pay, and now account for almost half of compensation. Options have fallen out of favor as being too subject to manipulation.
—For the first time this year, companies were required to report the ratio between CEO pay and median employee pay. For S&P 500 firms the median ratio was 158; for Russell 3000 firms it was 70. Mindy Grossman of Weight Watchers, whose total pay package was $33 million, had the highest reported ratio, at 5908.
—Shareholder-sponsored proposals on pay declined sharply, suggesting shareholders are more content with how boards are handling disclosure and “say on pay” practices. There were only 30 shareholder proposals related to executive compensation among Russell 3000 companies last year, down from 45 in 2016 and 132 in 2010.
—Size matters: CEOs of companies with less than $100 million in revenue had median pay of $2.2 million; those with $5 billion to $10 billion in revenue made a median of $9.6 million; those with $50 billion and over made $17.9 million.
More news below.
What goes up must come down. Yesterday’s Wall Street selloff has continued in Asian and European markets, with tech stocks feeling particular pain. Chinese stocks were down almost 6%; South Korea and Japan down around 4%; Stoxx Europe 600 down 1.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 3% yesterday and is expected to open down today as well. Wall Street Journal
Trump vs. Fed
President Trump has again attacked the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, describing the independent central bank as “crazy” and blaming its strategy for causing the abovementioned market turmoil. Cue a chorus of defenses of the Fed and its chair, Jay Powell, from the likes of IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, and senior figures from JPMorgan Chase International and Standard Chartered. Fortune
Apple is paying up to $600 million to license technology and buy assets from the British chip designer Dialog Semiconductor. The deal bumped up Dialog’s share price by more than a third (at least someone’s doing well) in Frankfurt this morning. Dialog had been warning investors that Apple, by far its biggest customer, could design its own power management chips soon, but it seems Apple is continuing to lean on the Reading-based firm. TechCrunch
After Amazon raised its wage floor but cut certain bonuses and stock awards, the company is moving to adjust wages and bonuses to make sure no one is actually taking home less money. All hourly employees will “see an increase in their total compensation as a result of this announcement,” a spokesperson said. Fortune
Around the Water Cooler
Hurricane Michael mauled northwest Florida yesterday and has left nearly half a million people without power in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. It killed six people in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador, and falling trees killed at least two people in Florida. Michael is so bad that Waffle House, known for staying open during hurricanes, shuttered 22 restaurants in Florida and eight in Georgia. USA Today
Very Long Haul
The world’s longest non-stop flight will relaunch today: Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-to-Newark route, which takes just under 19 hours. Qantas launched a 17.5-hour service between Auckland, New Zealand, and Doha, Qatar, earlier this year. Singapore Airlines is using an Airbus 1350-900 ULR (ultra-long-range) for its flight to Newark; this craft uses less fuel than the A340-500 that used to fly the route, before the route was cancelled for being too expensive. BBC
The startup economy is “an enormous multivariate kind of Ponzi scheme,” according to Silicon Valley tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya. The funding round cycle (round begets user growth begets bigger round) “looks amazing” but is really a dangerous “charade,” he warned. “At some point the whole grow, grow, grow at all costs runs out of juice.” CNBC
Square CFO Sarah Friar announced her departure yesterday—she’s becoming the new CEO of local social network Nextdoor. Square’s investors did not like the news; the payment processor’s share price is down an astonishing 18%. Fortune