United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain snubbed Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. Fain was supposed to attend a negotiation between the two parties but decided that he would not meet with car company royalty. Fain wants to negotiate on his terms, not those of Detroit’s senior management. (These CEOs are paid 1,000 times more than their employees.)
Fain has made much out of how Detroit chief executive officers are compensated compared to their workers. These CEOs say most of their compensation is in stock options that do not always pay out, but the gulf remains extreme. Workers should not do what CEOs do, ever. They do not have equivalent responsibilities.
No matter what the UAW’s opinion of other car executives, Bill Ford’s wealth due to the leadership of the Ford family is almost beyond imagining. It is well into the hundreds of millions of dollars because he owns Ford shares. His family’s is worth over $1 billion. He does not need the $17.5 million he made last year. He is not even the car company’s CEO. However, the CEO, Bill Farley, does work for him, which is unfortunate for Farley.
Ford is an example of how enemies of his pay might be thwarted, which he ignores. Many richest CEOs are barely compensated when their base salaries are considered. They want to prove their beliefs that partial ownership of their companies is sufficient for them to become or be wildly rich.
Warren Buffett, whose net worth is almost entirely tied up in Berkshire Hathaway stock, has a base salary of $100,000. He makes money the old-fashioned way by giving shareholders remarkable returns.
Bill Ford missed the opportunity long ago to show his workers and investors that he was all in on Ford’s future. Instead, he made $17.5 million last year. (Plus, the use of Ford private jets.)
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