Aerospace & Defense

Retiring Boeing CEO McNerney Made $80 Million in Past 3 Years

Boeing logo
Source: Wikimedia Commons
When Jim McNerney steps down on July 1 from his position as chief executive officer of Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), he will continue as an employee of the company and chairman until the end of February, at which time he officially retires as an employee, although he could remain as a non-employee director and chairman of the board. When his retirement begins, he stands to collect an annual pension benefit of $3.9 million for the next 15 years. That is a serious pay cut for McNerney, who has taken home a total of $79.6 million over the past three years.

According to the proxy statement Boeing filed in March, McNerney’s base salary for 2012 to 2014 came to $1.93 million in the first two years and $2 million in the third. His stock awards and incentive compensation totaled more than $20 million in 2014.

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How have the company’s shareholders fared over that time? Boeing’s stock price has doubled since June of 2012, compared with a rise of about 59% for the S&P 500. The company’s dividend has more than doubled, from $0.44 per quarter to a current rate of $0.91.

In March of 2009, Boeing’s stock hit a 10-year low of around $30. Delays in delivery of the 787 Dreamliner combined with the recession to cut 70% from the stock’s 2007 high. McNerney became CEO of Boeing in 2005, so he at least gets to share in the blame for the 787’s troubles. The steep rise in the stock price since the end of 2012 reflects enormous growth in demand for new airplanes, particularly from China and other emerging Asian nations.

Boeing’s share buyback plan was suspended in 2011 and 2012, and it restarted in 2013 when the company repurchased $2.8 billion in stock and authorized an additional $10 billion in its buyback program. That total was increased to $12 billion in December of last year. Boeing repurchased $6 billion worth of stock in 2014.

When McNerney steps down as CEO on July 1, his salary drops to $1.5 million, and he will be eligible for a cash award targeted at $2.25 million. His pension benefits total $46.6 million, and he will continue to accrue pension benefits until his retirement as CEO.

Over the past two and a half years, Boeing has treated shareholders very well. The stock price has doubled, the share buybacks have returned in a big way, and dividends have doubled as well. McNerney did even better.

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