Reprinted from Common Dreams by
Even as the Covid-19 pandemic created record losses in the second quarter of 2020—and claimed the lives and livelihoods of millions of workers—median CEO pay in the US increased yet again last year, according to a new analysis.
At a time when “CEOs’ big pay packages seemed to be under as much threat as everything else,” many boards of directors “made changes to the intricate formulas that determine” executive compensation to “make up for losses created by the crisis,” the Associated Press reported Friday.
“This should have been a year for shared sacrifice,” Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), told AP. “Instead it became a year of shielding CEOs from risk while it was the frontline employees who paid the price.” …
EPI: Preliminary Data Show CEO Pay Jumped Nearly 16% in 2020, While Average Worker Compensation Rose 1.8%
Data from large firms filing information on CEO compensation through the end of April show corporations and a strong stock market shielded CEOs from the financial impact of the pandemic.
An examination of the early filings of 281 large firms shows:
- The offer by CEOs to forgo salary increases during the pandemic was largely symbolic. Salaries were stable, but many CEOs pocketed a windfall by cashing in stock options and obtaining vested stock awards, compounding income inequalities laid bare during the past year.
- CEO compensation, including realized stock options and vested stock awards, rose 15.9% from 2019 to 2020 among early reporting firms. Growth in CEO compensation was slightly faster than last year’s strong growth—14.0% between 2018 and 2019—while the annual compensation of the average worker increased just 1.8% in 2020. …