Have they lost their minds? Well, at least their sense of propriety …
In a move reminiscent of AIG’s post-bailout bacchanalian (or, as the Smoking Gun crudely puts it, “Rock out with your Bailout”), representatives of the big three automakers admitted to having taken private jets on their groveling crusade to Washington.
Under questioning by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens), the CEOs assured Congress they had tightened their belts, cutting hundreds of workers and closing dozens of plants. “Obviously we’re all slashing back every expense that’s not critical to the business,” said GM CEO Rick Wagoner.
Right. On the same afternoon, Wagoner and Ford CEO Alan Mulally refused to consider taking a paycut from their respective $15.7 million and $22 million salaries to $1, a symbolic gesture suggestive of Lee Iacocca in the 1980s. Keep in mind that CEO compensation generally includes perks other than salary, such as bonuses, stock options, and . . . use of private jets.
Just another sign of the times – perhaps a change in the collective corporate mindset is just coming surely, but slowly?
NB – Chicago-Kent is offering a class on Executive Compensation in Spring 2009.