many investors objected to the 2011 pay package of JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon. He made $23 million, which was more than any other bank chief executive. Dimon also was criticized for his attack on those who are “hostile forces” to the financial services industry. That includes regulators and people who object to big bank pay packages. Dimon mounted a defense of his compensation. He said that JP Morgan made a record $19 billion last year. Dimon also can argue that the firm’s stock has outperformed those of its peers over the past two years. It’s hard to fight the logic.
Yahoo!’s (NASDAQ: YHOO) new CEO, Scott Thomson, fired 2,000 people, and the news was on the front page of every major news website. The broad coverage seems strange. The level of firings would barely be a news item if it occurred at a major retailer, financial services firm or manufacturing company. But Yahoo! has several hundreds of millions of visitors a month worldwide. Despite stumbles, it is one of the world’s most visible brands. Yahoo! is also covered so widely because it is like NASCAR. Nearly everyone likes to watch a wreck.
New York Auto Show Buzz
The 2012 New York International Auto Show will be the venue for car companies to release more new models than they have in years. It is a sign of the industry’s recovery. Product development and marketing investments have started to pay off. The bets on what buyers want are across a long board. Chrysler launched its new SRT Viper, which has a 10-cylinder engine and gets lower gas mileage than almost any other vehicles on the road. Korean giant Hyundai showed off its new Sante Fe crossover, which gets 33 MPG. The Santa Fe is priced below $30,000. The Viper retails for nearly $100,000.
Woods at The Masters
The Masters, one of golf’s four major events, begins today. Augusta National, the owner of the course, will make millions of dollars from TV sponsorships. The other big beneficiary of the tournament may be Tiger Woods, who has won more major titles than any golfer in history other than Jack Nicklaus. Tiger has lost the great majority of his sponsors because of his sexual indiscretions. But he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which will put him in front of TV cameras throughout most of the Masters, and probably many future events. A lot of sponsors believe that product visibility trumps bad behavior. Woods’s loss of tens of millions of dollars in sponsorships is about to reverse itself.
Douglas A. McIntyre