A topic that has been discussed back and forth for decades was the target of a Congressional panel today wondering if high CEO pay was harming investor confidence in the market. Eight CEOs were invited to testify - and all refused. I've heard the "winner-take-all" arguments behind such high executive pay, but too many of these deals are clearly sweetheart deals set up by a small club of people to reward others in that club. To be honest, I have no problem with huge payouts if a company is doing well. It's the ones who are doing terribly or (even worse!) are paid millions in severance when they're fired that are a cause for concern, and are most likely to be causing investors to lose their confidence in the market. Of course, I have no idea what can be done to prevent such things. You would think that if investors really are losing confidence in such companies - that the loss of investment dollars would be incentive for the companies to change their executive compensation policies. Perhaps a simple solution is just to make sure that all executive compensation issues and contingencies are well-known. The article suggests that in a few instances shareholders are getting their angry message across to company boards, but it still sounds like a rare situation.
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