IBM Board Paid Itself $4.9 Million

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The International Business Machine Corp. (NYSE: IBM) board of directors not only paid its failing CEO Ginni Rometty $19.8 million in 2015. The members paid themselves $4.9 million for the same year, which is rich for a company that is shrinking rapidly and has a share price down 11.4% over the past year and 24.7% over the past two years. Board members receive $300,000 in cash and the balance in “all other compensation.”

IBM’s board members are A.J.P. Belda, W.R. Brody, K.I. Chenault, M.L. Eskew, D.N. Farr, A. Gorsky, S.A. Jackson, A.N. Liveris, W.J. McNerney Jr., J.W. Owens, J.E. Spero, S. Taurel and P. Voser.

Many of the members of the board held their positions before Rometty was named chief executive officer in October 2011, so they are responsible for both her promotion and ongoing employment. Chenault (who has been blamed for damaging American Express, where he is CEO) has been on the board since 1998. Eskew has been a board member since 2005. Jackson also joined in 2005. Liveris (who has been attacked for lavish spending as CEO of Dow Chemical) has been on the board since 2010. And McNerney since 2009, Owens since 2006, Spero since 2004 and Taurel since 2001.

Several directors own no “shares of IBM common stock beneficially owned by the named person” as of the filing of the most recent proxy. Not a single one. That might lead outsiders to question their faith in the company.

So much for a board helping shareholders before they help themselves.