40% of top-paid CEOs busted, bailed out or booted, study says

02/09/2013 03:32

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies points to a weak link between performance and pay among some of the highest-paid CEOs of American companies, and urges the U.S. government to push through laws that would bring chief executive pay under closer scrutiny.

The report, titled "Executive Excess 2013," found that since the 2008 financial crisis, 40 per cent of the highest-paid CEOs in the U.S. had been either "bailed out, booted, or busted" – that is, worked for companies bailed out by taxpayers, had been fired or had been arrested for illegal activities.

“We think the study really undercuts this whole idea of pay for performance,” said Sarah Anderson, co-author of the Executive Excess Report, said in an interview from Washington, D.C.

"We have a corporate culture that really encourages risky behaviour that is dangerous for both shareholders and taxpayers. I think it’s widely acknowledged that the executive CEO compensation structure for Wall Street bankers was a factor that got us into this crisis," she told CBC News.

The breakdown:

  • About 22 per cent of U.S. companies with the highest-paid CEOs received taxpayer bailouts after the 2008 financial crash.
  • Eight per cent of highly paid CEOs were fired for poor performance but received golden parachutes valued, on average, at $48 million US.
  • Another eight per cent of highly paid CEOs ran afoul of the law and paid fraud-related fines or settlements.

CEOs paid 354 times more than average American


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