Though the global financial crisis of 2008 prompted a seismic shift in attitudes toward executive pay on the part of lawmakers, the public, investors, and other stakeholders, average compensation levels continue to rise or have returned to where they were before the crisis.
Mindful of the outcry over particular elements of pay packages, companies began scaling back bonus awards as well as payments related to “golden parachutes” and other forms of exit pay following the crisis.
Indeed, such components of executives’ total annual compensation declined in fiscal 2009 with some elements, including those dealing with exit pay, continuing to decline modestly into fiscal 2010.
But that has been more than offset through increases in other pay elements, most notably awards tied to company stock. The result is a 37 percent surge in total annual compensation paid to C-suite officers from fiscal 2008 to 2010 with stock awards now constituting more than half of the total pay pie.
As such, this post explores how the executive pay package mix and overall total annual compensation levels have changed since fiscal 2008 and the role played by stock-based awards in fueling the spike in total executive pay.