General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has disclosed in its proxy summary filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the pay of its top executives. This pay will likely be criticized by those market pundits analysts who have been against the company and those who have called for leadership change.
After all, the public outcry is currently against business executives making tens of millions of dollars. One way of looking at this sort of money objectively is by looking at high pay elsewhere in society and then to consider it in real world and economic contribution terms — say against reality TV stars.
As we noted just a week earlier, a CEO change at GE may drive some interest from outside shareholders but there is a very serious issue that making a premature change at the top may simply not generate any real benefits that the investors would be hoping for. Such a big change could even backfire, and potentially not make GE any better off at all.
Jeff Immelt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, was given a total compensation package of $18.9 million for 2014. That figure included a salary of $3.75 million, a bonus of $5.4 million, and stock awards of $3.676 million. Another $2.565 million was included for option awards, and the conglomerate’s non-equity incentive plan compensation was $2.484 million. The total came to $18.855 million, but that is after a change in pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation (see below) of $18.568 million and other compensation of $836,634 for Mr. Immelt.
As far as other compensation plans for 2014, 24/7 Wall St. is looking at the SEC’s total without a change in the pension values.
- Jeff Bornstein, SVP & Chief Financial Officer $10.635 million
- John Rice, Vice Chairman $15.17 million
- Keith Sherin, Vice Chairman $11.887 million
- and Brackett B. Denniston III, SVP, General Counsel & Secretary $9.224 million.
General Electric further included a W-2 Realized Compensation schedule that normalizes all of the other non-cash items into what the IRS sees. These were listed as follows:
- Jeff Immelt $9,560,031
- Jeff Bornstein $4,271,938
- John Rice $9,409,173
- Keith Sherin $6,460,460
- Brackett B. Denniston III $4,817,618
GE’s filing contains the standard language to show the difference here between total compensation and recognized compensation by saying:
The SEC’s calculation of total compensation includes several items driven by accounting and actuarial assumptions. As a result, these amounts differ substantially from the compensation actually realized by our named executives in a particular year. To supplement the SEC-required disclosure, we have included this 2014 Realized Compensation Table to show the compensation they actually realized, as reported on their IRS W-2 forms.
A separate page under Realized Compensation shows a difference among the officer pay here for these four executives for the years 2014, 2013, and 2014.
24/7 Wall St. would like to make one point here before automatically bashing executive pay. Let’s consider people who run the nation’s most powerful companies versus the nation’s top reality TV stars. Who generates more value for the economy and society? General Electric is one of the most important companies in the country and in the world. The company counts more than 300,000 employees, and revenue in 2014 was over $148 billion.
The Kardashians just received a contract for $100 million, or maybe it was ‘just’ $80 million.
Does high executive compensation sound off the charts now? That is for you to decide.