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美企一边大量裁员,一边给CEO发放巨额奖金

美企一边大量裁员,一边给CEO发放巨额奖金

Anders Melin,彭博社 2020年05月21日
到目前为止,许多美国大企业的高管虽然放弃了部分薪金,但大多仍享受着极高的酬劳。

图:克罗格公司首席执行官罗德尼·麦克马伦

在新冠疫情的影响下,企业的首席执行官们也开始感受到经济形势的压力。

但与其员工相比,越来越多的批评人士仍然认为这些高管们所做的远远不够。

到目前为止,许多美国大企业的高管(包括一些处于危机中心的企业)虽然放弃了部分薪金,但大多仍享受着极高的酬劳。即使在普通员工失业的时候,部分高管仍有希望获得2020年的奖金,尽管金额较去年会有所下降。

未来的情况将取决于经济状况、金融市场,并最终取决于新冠疫情本身的发展。但是,在当前的高度不平等时代,高管薪酬本就颇具争议,随着普通员工面临的困境加剧,这一问题再次成为人们关注的焦点。

以特尼特医疗保健公司为例,该公司在新冠疫情爆发后已经安排数千名员工无薪休假。首席执行官罗纳德·里滕迈尔承诺将三个月的薪水(约39万美元),捐赠给一家多年前成立、旨在帮助经济困难员工的基金。在四月份写给投资者的一封信中,里滕迈尔称这笔捐款是为了向这家医疗连锁机构的11.3万名医护人员及其他相关人员“致敬”。该机构许多员工正奋斗在抗击新冠疫情的最前线。

可是,即使在减薪后,里滕迈尔仍将获得100多万美元薪水。其中还不包括至少87.5万美元的奖金,至2022年价值1,130万美元的股票奖励,以及一份让他在未来可额外获得数百万美元收入的合同。尽管里滕迈尔今年的总薪酬尚未最终确定,但他所放弃的39万美元仅相当于去年收入的2%。

此外,特尼特三年前离任的前任CEO,每个月仍能领取到约24.5万美元的离职补偿金。

难怪美国最大的工会之一会批评特尼特的高管薪酬,并表示里滕迈尔的捐赠只不过是“摆摆姿态而已”。

在给特尼特投资者的一封信中,国际卡车司机兄弟会秘书长兼财务长肯·霍尔(Ken Hall)表示,在特尼特一线员工急需资源支持时,高管们的巨额薪酬支出“尤其不合时宜”。他要求股东们在5月28日的公司年度大会上投票反对高管薪酬方案。

特尼特的一位发言人说,高管薪酬决定是在疫情爆发前做出的,与公司的长期目标挂钩。他补充说,要求员工无薪休假是为了将资源集中起来,应对新冠疫情,目前部分员工已经重返工作岗位。

里滕迈尔拒绝接受采访。他并非唯一面临审查的首席执行官。食品杂货连锁公司克罗格公司因计划本周末取消每小时2美元的危险津贴,遭到员工和工会的抨击。该公司披露,2019年,首席执行官罗德尼·麦克马伦获得了2,110万美元的薪酬。相比之下,一名普通员工的工资和福利则不到2.7万美元。

克罗格公司女发言人指出,公司的平均时薪为15美元,并且公司为员工提供从新冠病毒检测到紧急事假等一系列安全防范措施。

全美范围内,随着数百万人失业,高管薪酬这个棘手的问题再次浮出水面。

联合航空控股公司和西南航空公司等航空公司三月份宣布削减首席执行官薪酬,各行各业的几十家公司也纷纷效仿。包括通用电气公司CEO拉里·卡尔普在内的一些高管将放弃2020年剩余时间的全部薪水。

一方面,这些举动是一种有意识的(即使是象征性的)团结一致、共克时艰的表现,老板们努力让自己看起来并未置身事外。但另一方面,这也暴露了美国企业界最高层和其他所有人之间存在着巨大的经济差距。

特拉华大学公司治理研究中心主任查尔斯·埃尔森说:“如果老板想让员工放弃工资,老板自己也应该这么做。但问题是,工资之外的其他报酬呢?”

标普500指数公司的CEO平均工资为130万美元,大约是美国家庭收入中位数的20倍。但工资仅占高管们总薪酬的10%。高管还有奖金和股票激励等其他收入,通常与股票回报或利润等指标挂钩。这些薪酬根据业绩目标的达成状况进行调整。

在许多遭受重创行业,这可能意味着许多高管的额外报酬从1,000万美元减少到了100万美元。但在其他行业,即使高管削减了基本工资,但只要股市复苏,他们仍有机会获得巨额薪酬。

当然,股市不等于整体经济。但股市经常像哈哈镜一样,会放大和扭曲赢家和输家。

继三月份暴跌之后,上月股市经历了自1987年以来的最大涨幅。但与此同时,美国公司共裁员2,050万人,创历史新高,失业率达到14.7%。

后危机时期的事实已经证明,市场倾向于回报资本而非劳动力。过去十年中,上市公司高管从股票奖励中获得了数十亿美元的收益,其中一部分获于大萧条最严重的时期,而数百万普通人多年来则一直在努力重新站稳脚跟。

高管薪酬咨询公司Farient Advisors首席执行官罗宾·费拉科恩说:“人们普遍认为,我们需要关注所有利益相关者。不能只是部分人变得越来越有钱,而其他人却不得不默默忍受拮据的经济状况。”

这是一种长期趋势。去年的一项研究显示,1978年至2018年间,美国大型公司首席执行官的薪酬飙升940%,主要得益于股价上涨。相比之下,工人工资仅增长12%。

在某些情况下,丰厚的股票奖励可能让高管们同甘共苦的行为变成了作秀。今年四月,全球保险和咨询公司怡安公司的CEO格雷格·凯斯表示,作为公司大范围降薪计划的一部分,他将放弃今年剩下150万美元工资的50%。怡安公司大约70%的员工将减薪五分之一。

然而,怡安仍将在5月15日向股东发放约1亿美元股息。与许多其他CEO一样,凯斯自2005年上任以来积累了约120万股股权。他每个季可以获得的股息高达53.1万美元,远远高于他所放弃的工资。

其他持股员工也将从中受益。但与凯斯不同的是,很少有人持有价值数千万美元的未归属股票激励。

除了凯斯给员工的公开信外,怡安拒绝置评。凯斯在信中写道:“定期支付股息符合维持投资级评级的目的,是进入资本市场的基本条件。”

新冠疫情使高管们丰厚的“金色降落伞”显得尤其刺眼。今年三月,美高梅国际酒店集团让数万名员工无薪休假,并随即开始裁员。几天后,美高梅向即将卸任的首席执行官吉姆•默伦发放了3,200万美元的离职补偿金,他离任后将担任内华达州冠状病毒特别工作组的负责人。这笔支出回避了原始合同的条款,因为按照合同条款规定,吉姆•默伦自愿离职将无权获得任何补偿。

美高梅没有直接谈论这笔离职补偿金,只是称当时董事会加快了前一个月宣布的接班进程,因为他们“认为在这个充满动荡和不确定的时期,公司需要持续稳定、高水平的领导力。”

高管薪酬咨询公司Pearl Meyer合伙人阿拉普·沙阿说,无论如何,企业都必须考虑到公众的看法,衡量过去做出的承诺。

他说:“如果雇主在困难时期不能共患难,将必然给公司的形象带来一定的影响。”(财富中文网)

译者:Biz

在新冠疫情的影响下,企业的首席执行官们也开始感受到经济形势的压力。

但与其员工相比,越来越多的批评人士仍然认为这些高管们所做的远远不够。

到目前为止,许多美国大企业的高管(包括一些处于危机中心的企业)虽然放弃了部分薪金,但大多仍享受着极高的酬劳。即使在普通员工失业的时候,部分高管仍有希望获得2020年的奖金,尽管金额较去年会有所下降。

未来的情况将取决于经济状况、金融市场,并最终取决于新冠疫情本身的发展。但是,在当前的高度不平等时代,高管薪酬本就颇具争议,随着普通员工面临的困境加剧,这一问题再次成为人们关注的焦点。

以特尼特医疗保健公司为例,该公司在新冠疫情爆发后已经安排数千名员工无薪休假。首席执行官罗纳德·里滕迈尔承诺将三个月的薪水(约39万美元),捐赠给一家多年前成立、旨在帮助经济困难员工的基金。在四月份写给投资者的一封信中,里滕迈尔称这笔捐款是为了向这家医疗连锁机构的11.3万名医护人员及其他相关人员“致敬”。该机构许多员工正奋斗在抗击新冠疫情的最前线。

可是,即使在减薪后,里滕迈尔仍将获得100多万美元薪水。其中还不包括至少87.5万美元的奖金,至2022年价值1,130万美元的股票奖励,以及一份让他在未来可额外获得数百万美元收入的合同。尽管里滕迈尔今年的总薪酬尚未最终确定,但他所放弃的39万美元仅相当于去年收入的2%。

此外,特尼特三年前离任的前任CEO,每个月仍能领取到约24.5万美元的离职补偿金。

难怪美国最大的工会之一会批评特尼特的高管薪酬,并表示里滕迈尔的捐赠只不过是“摆摆姿态而已”。

在给特尼特投资者的一封信中,国际卡车司机兄弟会秘书长兼财务长肯·霍尔(Ken Hall)表示,在特尼特一线员工急需资源支持时,高管们的巨额薪酬支出“尤其不合时宜”。他要求股东们在5月28日的公司年度大会上投票反对高管薪酬方案。

特尼特的一位发言人说,高管薪酬决定是在疫情爆发前做出的,与公司的长期目标挂钩。他补充说,要求员工无薪休假是为了将资源集中起来,应对新冠疫情,目前部分员工已经重返工作岗位。

里滕迈尔拒绝接受采访。他并非唯一面临审查的首席执行官。食品杂货连锁公司克罗格公司因计划本周末取消每小时2美元的危险津贴,遭到员工和工会的抨击。该公司披露,2019年,首席执行官罗德尼·麦克马伦获得了2,110万美元的薪酬。相比之下,一名普通员工的工资和福利则不到2.7万美元。

克罗格公司女发言人指出,公司的平均时薪为15美元,并且公司为员工提供从新冠病毒检测到紧急事假等一系列安全防范措施。

全美范围内,随着数百万人失业,高管薪酬这个棘手的问题再次浮出水面。

联合航空控股公司和西南航空公司等航空公司三月份宣布削减首席执行官薪酬,各行各业的几十家公司也纷纷效仿。包括通用电气公司CEO拉里·卡尔普在内的一些高管将放弃2020年剩余时间的全部薪水。

一方面,这些举动是一种有意识的(即使是象征性的)团结一致、共克时艰的表现,老板们努力让自己看起来并未置身事外。但另一方面,这也暴露了美国企业界最高层和其他所有人之间存在着巨大的经济差距。

特拉华大学公司治理研究中心主任查尔斯·埃尔森说:“如果老板想让员工放弃工资,老板自己也应该这么做。但问题是,工资之外的其他报酬呢?”

标普500指数公司的CEO平均工资为130万美元,大约是美国家庭收入中位数的20倍。但工资仅占高管们总薪酬的10%。高管还有奖金和股票激励等其他收入,通常与股票回报或利润等指标挂钩。这些薪酬根据业绩目标的达成状况进行调整。

在许多遭受重创行业,这可能意味着许多高管的额外报酬从1,000万美元减少到了100万美元。但在其他行业,即使高管削减了基本工资,但只要股市复苏,他们仍有机会获得巨额薪酬。

当然,股市不等于整体经济。但股市经常像哈哈镜一样,会放大和扭曲赢家和输家。

继三月份暴跌之后,上月股市经历了自1987年以来的最大涨幅。但与此同时,美国公司共裁员2,050万人,创历史新高,失业率达到14.7%。

后危机时期的事实已经证明,市场倾向于回报资本而非劳动力。过去十年中,上市公司高管从股票奖励中获得了数十亿美元的收益,其中一部分获于大萧条最严重的时期,而数百万普通人多年来则一直在努力重新站稳脚跟。

高管薪酬咨询公司Farient Advisors首席执行官罗宾·费拉科恩说:“人们普遍认为,我们需要关注所有利益相关者。不能只是部分人变得越来越有钱,而其他人却不得不默默忍受拮据的经济状况。”

这是一种长期趋势。去年的一项研究显示,1978年至2018年间,美国大型公司首席执行官的薪酬飙升940%,主要得益于股价上涨。相比之下,工人工资仅增长12%。

在某些情况下,丰厚的股票奖励可能让高管们同甘共苦的行为变成了作秀。今年四月,全球保险和咨询公司怡安公司的CEO格雷格·凯斯表示,作为公司大范围降薪计划的一部分,他将放弃今年剩下150万美元工资的50%。怡安公司大约70%的员工将减薪五分之一。

然而,怡安仍将在5月15日向股东发放约1亿美元股息。与许多其他CEO一样,凯斯自2005年上任以来积累了约120万股股权。他每个季可以获得的股息高达53.1万美元,远远高于他所放弃的工资。

其他持股员工也将从中受益。但与凯斯不同的是,很少有人持有价值数千万美元的未归属股票激励。

除了凯斯给员工的公开信外,怡安拒绝置评。凯斯在信中写道:“定期支付股息符合维持投资级评级的目的,是进入资本市场的基本条件。”

新冠疫情使高管们丰厚的“金色降落伞”显得尤其刺眼。今年三月,美高梅国际酒店集团让数万名员工无薪休假,并随即开始裁员。几天后,美高梅向即将卸任的首席执行官吉姆•默伦发放了3,200万美元的离职补偿金,他离任后将担任内华达州冠状病毒特别工作组的负责人。这笔支出回避了原始合同的条款,因为按照合同条款规定,吉姆•默伦自愿离职将无权获得任何补偿。

美高梅没有直接谈论这笔离职补偿金,只是称当时董事会加快了前一个月宣布的接班进程,因为他们“认为在这个充满动荡和不确定的时期,公司需要持续稳定、高水平的领导力。”

高管薪酬咨询公司Pearl Meyer合伙人阿拉普·沙阿说,无论如何,企业都必须考虑到公众的看法,衡量过去做出的承诺。

他说:“如果雇主在困难时期不能共患难,将必然给公司的形象带来一定的影响。”(财富中文网)

译者:Biz

Even CEOs are starting to get squeezed by the economic realities of this pandemic.

But compared to their employees, a growing number of critics still say it’s not nearly enough.

So far, top executives of many major U.S. corporations—including some at the very epicenter of the crisis—have mostly held on to their outsize pay packages after giving up some of their salaries. And even as rank-and-file jobs vanish, some still have a distant shot at collecting bonuses for 2020, albeit smaller than last year’s.

How things play out will depend on the economy, financial markets and ultimately the coronavirus itself. But as the pain grows for ordinary workers, executive pay—a divisive issue in an age of extraordinary inequality—has come to the fore once again.

Consider, for example, Tenet Healthcare Corp., which has furloughed thousands in the wake of the coronavirus. Chief Executive Officer Ronald Rittenmeyer vowed to give up three months’ pay—roughly $390,000—to a fund set up years ago to help employees struggling to make ends meet. In a letter to investors in April, he wrote the donation was made “in honor” of the hospital chain’s 113,000 doctors, nurses and others, many of whom work on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.

Yet even after the pay cut, Rittenmeyer will still rake in over a million dollars in salary. That’s not counting at least a $875,000 bonus, stock awards worth $11.3 million through 2022 and a contract that entitles him to millions of dollars more in the future. Total compensation figures have yet to be finalized for the current year, but the $390,000 that Rittenmeyer is forgoing would only amount to 2% of what he received last year.

What’s more, Tenet still pays Rittenmeyer’s predecessor, who left three years ago, roughly $245,000 each month as part of his severance package.

It’s little wonder one of the largest U.S. unions criticized Tenet’s executive pay and said Rittenmeyer’s donation amounted to little more than “a gesture.”

In a letter to Tenet’s investors, Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the payouts were “particularly inappropriate” when resources are sorely needed to support Tenet’s front-line workers. He asked shareholders to vote against the pay package at the company’s annual meeting on May 28.

A Tenet spokesman said executive-pay decisions were made before the outbreak and payouts are tied to long-term goals. He added the furloughs were carried out to focus resources on COVID-19 care and some employees are back on the job.

Rittenmeyer, who declined to be interviewed, isn’t the only CEO facing scrutiny. Grocery store chain Kroger Co., under fire from employees and unions over its plan to scrap its extra $2 per hour in hazard pay this weekend, disclosed that CEO Rodney McMullen was awarded $21.1 million in compensation for 2019. Compare that to a typical worker, who got less than $27,000 in pay and benefits.

A Kroger spokeswoman pointed out the company’s average wage is $15 an hour and that it offers a range of safety precautions, from testing to emergency leave, to employees.

All across the country, as millions of Americans are thrown out of work, tough questions are once again being asked about executive pay.

Airlines like United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. began announcing CEO pay reductions in March, and dozens of companies across industries have followed. Some, including General Electric Co.’s Larry Culp, will forgo their entire salary for the rest of 2020.

On one hand, the moves are a conscious, if symbolic, display of solidarity and shared sacrifice, an effort by the bosses not to appear tone deaf. But on the other, they lay bare the gaping economic disparities between those at the very top of corporate America and everyone else.

“If you’re going to ask your staff to give up salary, so should you,” said Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware’s center for corporate governance. “The question is, how will the rest of the pay package play out?”

CEOs at S&P 500 companies receive on average $1.3 million in salary, roughly 20 times the median U.S. household income. But that sum only accounts for 10% of their total compensation. The rest comes in bonuses and stock-based incentives typically tied to measures like equity returns or profits. Those payouts are adjusted based on how goals are met.

For many executives in the hardest-hit industries, that means making do with perhaps $1 million instead of $10 million. But others still have a shot at hefty payouts, regardless of cuts to base pay, if stocks recover.

Of course, the stock market isn’t the economy. But it can often magnify and distort—in a fun-house mirror sort of way—the winners and losers in it.

After plummeting in March, stocks last month jumped the most since 1987. The rebound came as U.S. companies cut a record 20.5 million jobs, causing the jobless rate to reach 14.7%.

And as the post-crisis years showed, the market tends to reward capital over labor. In the past decade, public-company executives have reaped billions of dollars in gains from stock-based awards, some of which were granted at the depths of the Great Recession, while millions of people have struggled for years to regain their footing.

“There’s just the general view that we need to pay attention to all stakeholders,” said Robin Ferracone, CEO of Farient Advisors, which gives boards advice on executive pay. “It can’t just be that some are getting richer and the rest are taking it on the chin.”

It’s part of a longer-term trend. Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies saw their pay skyrocket 940% between 1978 and 2018, a study showed last year, largely helped by stock gains. Worker wages, meanwhile, increased by just 12%.

In some instances, hefty stock awards have arguably made sharing the pain an exercise in virtue signaling. In April, Greg Case, CEO of global insurance and consulting firm Aon Plc, said he would give up 50% of his $1.5 million salary for the rest of the year as part of broader pay cuts. Roughly 70% of Aon’s workforce will see their salaries reduced by a fifth.

However, Aon still will pay about $100 million in dividends to shareholders on May 15. Like many other CEOs, Case has amassed a sizable ownership stake since he started in 2005, roughly 1.2 million shares. His cut of the quarterly payout—about $531,000—will more than make up his lost salary.

Other employees who hold shares will benefit, too. But unlike Case, few also have tens of millions of dollars in unvested stock awards outstanding.

Aon declined to comment beyond Case’s open letter to employees. In it, Case wrote “paying a regular dividend is consistent with maintaining an investment grade rating and fundamental to accessing the capital markets.”

The pandemic has also brought into stark relief the lucrative golden parachutes given to corporate executives. In March, MGM Resorts International furloughed tens of thousands of workers and began layoffs. Days later, it gave outgoing CEO Jim Murren, who left to head Nevada’s coronavirus task force, a $32 million exit package. The payout sidestepped the terms of his original contract, which entitled him to nothing if he left voluntarily.

MGM didn’t directly address the exit package but said at the time that the board sped up the transition, announced the prior month, because it “believes continued steady, skilled leadership is needed in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty.”

Whatever the case, companies must weigh past promises against public perception, says Aalap Shah, a partner at Pearl Meyer, an executive-pay consulting firm.

“If you don’t react in a way of camaraderie,” he said, “that’s going to be very telling about the kind of company you are.”

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