If you could bluff your way into an S&P 500 CEO job, how many days would you have to rough it to earn your current annual pay?
You'd rack up $24,473 per day 365 days a year if you were just middle of the pack, according to a recent GMI study of S&P 500 CEO pay in 2010. Your annual earnings on a weekly basis would be more than $171,000; for 60 days, that'd be a cool $1.5 million.
Of course, if you were a top negotiator, maybe you'd take home what McKesson (MCK) CEO John Hammergren did in 2010. His daily haul, based on his annual pay, was around $398,000, with a weekly total of $2.8 million and a 60-day payout of nearly $24 million.
Could you put up with the rigors given those rates?
Working the one job 24/7
Maybe you're concerned that if you took a job like that, it might engulf your life 24/7. There'd be no time for extracurricular activities.
Not to worry. You'd have the opportunity to work a part-time job too, earning some pocket change on the side. For example, take Hammergren, who took home the biggest bucks in 2010 ($145 million in total compensation), according to GMI. Beyond serving as CEO of McKesson, he has been a board member at HP (HPQ), which paid him around $387,000 last year. As a member of the board's compensation committee, Hammergren has been busy with CEO pay negotiations in recent years.
In 2010, when HP showed former CEO Mark Hurd the door following an investigation into his behavior, Hurd was given $12 million cash plus vesting of some stock. Based on Hammergren's own 2010 wages, $12 million would translate to just 30 days severance. Is that so unreasonable? Under the original agreement, Hurd was also entitled to stock valued $15 million or more. He gave that up, though, in the kerfuffle related to his decision to join Oracle (ORCL) as its co-president.
Hammergren also reportedly volunteered to be on the search committee that identified Hurd's successor, former HP CEO Leo Apotheker. With less than one year of service, Apotheker was ousted last year and walked away with around $25 million. Sound like a lot? That would only amount to slightly more than 60 days severance based on Hammergren's 2010 pay.
In any event, this one example should ease your mind somewhat. Being a CEO of a major S&P 500 firm does not mean you have to work the one job 24/7.
Cranky investors? Not quite.
What about investor expectations? With large CEO paydays, aren't investors bound to be snarky?