The 20.5 percent growth of compensation packages for the highest ranking corporate executive at U.S. public companies sharply exceeded the 2.8-percent rise in corporate revenues, according to research from a salary data provider. The research said that, in contrast, over the past 11 years revenues had risen 93 percent while executive climbed a much-smaller 24.7 percent.
The same research, by ERI Economic Research Institute, also documented the shift from stock option awards to restricted stock. Last February, the average company reported that it had paid its top executive $4.16 million in restricted stock, a number that surged this month to $5.08 million, showing a 22 percent increase in these types of share compensation programs. In contrast, the dollar amount designated through stock options has fallen 15.7 percent. The ERI numbers resulted from a study it conducted with the Wall Street Journal.
The average dollar amount given to top executives in restricted stock awards rose by more than 287 percent over the 11 years studied, while the amount in stock options awards had fallen by more than 58 percent.
During the period since 1997 measured for executive pay and revenues, companies’ average dollar revenues increased 3.8 times faster than the average dollar amount they allocated to their highest paid executives. That changed over the past year, when the average top executive earned $18.8 million in total compensation. That amount included salary, bonuses, and stock-related awards.
ERI pulled its findings from 45 of the 6,500 companies that provide compensation data to the Securities and Exchange Commission. ERI says its small survey pool was selected randomly.