Spotlight on Retail CEO Salaries

With CEO compensation now a big issue here in the U.S., thanks to the AIG bonuses, about.com’s retail section did an interesting story on retail CEO salaries, noting a minor stink was recently raised (then dismissed) over the $500,000 bonus given to the CEO of now-bankrupt Gottschalk’s.

 

Is this something we should be looking at in the jewelry industry?  About.com’s accompanying chart includes salaries for the most recent CEOs at now-defunct Whitehall –  $1.3 million and $600,000, respectively. Whitehall’s lawyers were paid well too.

 

In the last week, there has been a low-level fuss over the $1 million bonus paid to Arthur Reiner, current CEO of recently reorganized retailer Finlay, in exchange for forgoing $2 million severance. (One commenter said it looks like “a negotiated severance package.”) Reiner didn’t do as well as former Zale CEO Mary Forte, who was given $3.6 million severance when she was let go a few years back.

 

Now, obviously these companies want to attract the best talent possible – and CEO is a high-pressure job. But in a time when companies are cutting back expenses and staff, should CEO and other executive salaries be immune? I’d be interested in your thoughts. 

UPDATE: Speaking of severance, there is this NY Times story about a Fortunoff employee who was laid off (non-CEO), and got no severance whatsoever … Eesh.

JCK News Director