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Why do some companies consistently outperform their peers?

The debate on CEO pay may seem to be only simmering for the moment, while other events dominate the news cycle, but it has not gone away. Working where I do, one of the things we study is the value of, and how to recognize, effective leadership – now, the Best Companies for Leadership; later, the Most Admired Companies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hay Group‘s research on the Fortune Most Admired Companies shows that those who make the matrix work get results: better and faster decisions. The seemingly simple trick is getting managers to act in the best interests of the company as a whole, not just maximizing their own results.

But this has implications for jobs, rewards, behaviors, culture and structure. Most critical: command-and-control management styles must give way to collaboration and cooperation. To crack the matrix code, organizations must: Read the rest of this entry »

The median salaries and bonuses for the chief executives of 200 big U.S. companies fell 8.5% to $2.24 million, according to an analysis for The Wall Street Journal by Hay Group, a management consulting firm. The analysis examined proxy statements for companies with more than $5 billion in annual revenue. Survey details here.

“By most measures, 2008 was a terrible year for home builder Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. Its stock plunged 62%, revenue fell 31% and the company posted a $1.1 billion loss in the fiscal year ended Oct. 31. Yet Hovnanian’s board awarded Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian a bonus of $1.5 million in cash and stock. The reason: Mr. Hovnanian had helped the company stockpile cash, according to Hovnanian’s Feb. 4 proxy statement…” Read more here of Phred Dvorak’s WSJ article here: Poor year doesn’t stop CEO bonuses.

The reference post was really fun to write, and it generated a HUGE response.  It was a treat to read all the comments from various forums – a very sincere thanks to everyone who contributed! Here are some extracts that I found really compelling – I want to share these verbatim while I structure my thinking on what I think they mean – apologies for the length, but this is worth reading to the end:

More than one challenged my sanity, e.g.: Read the rest of this entry »

My friend Ford Harding just posted an interesting dilemma in his Rainmaking problem series and asked his readers for comments: Read the rest of this entry »

My Hay Group colleague Jeffrey Bacher writes:


While most of the attention on executive compensation has focused on CEOs, it really is the compensation committee of the board of directors that is responsible for the ultimate executive pay decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

In the midst of perhaps the biggest financial meltdown since the 1930s, no companies seem immune to investor pressure, other than perhaps WalMart and McDonalds, who managed to eke out stock market gains in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

In the Science Times on Tuesday, Dec. 16, in a piece entitled “A Crisis of Confidence for Masters of the Universe” Dr. Richard Friedman, writing about the  impact of the economic crisis on high achievers, notes: Read the rest of this entry »

Nearly half (48%) of organizations globally are decreasing or freezing existing staffing levels, up from 20% in the March study. For those planning layoffs, median staffing level decreases are approximately 7.5%. Only 3% of organizations globally are planning to increase staffing levels. Read the rest of this entry »

MACs outscore consistently outscore others on the following: Read the rest of this entry »

“Rather than immediately reject or accept a lowball deal, you should mount a careful counterattack, experts recommend. You could improve your chances of winning a satisfactory compromise, with tradeoffs ranging from a faster pay review to extra perquisites….

“As part of your homework, you must grasp a potential employer’s problems so you can promote yourself as a problem solver worth more than the proposed skimpy pay.”

Read more:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122817186202670399.html

Chief executives in the US have total salary and incentives packages typically one and three quarter times the size of those of their European equivalents – almost €9.7 million compared to €5.6 million in Europe. Base salaries for chief executives tend to be lower in the US than in Europe – but bonuses and long-term incentives are much bigger in the US. Hay Group conducted a study of the pay of chief executives which provides a clear picture of their rewards.  The report (requires registration) analyzes executive compensation data from the largest European and US companies (50 of each).  It covers:

  • Base salary
  • Annual incentive plans
  • Total cash
  • Long-term incentive plans
  • Total direct compensation

The report also looks at fees paid to European chairmen and non-executive chairmen.

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