Swiss May Limit CEO Pay

Disgusted with the how much CEOs are paid in comparison to the average worker? In Switzerland they are using the referendum process to address the issue head on.

Thomas Minder, CEO of Trybol Cosmetics launched his campaign in October 2006 and collected nearly 118,600 to bring bring about a national referendum on remuneration. Minder, who needed a minimum of 100,000 signatures on his petition to force the referendum, is targeting a ban on transaction bonuses, salary in advance and golden handshakes (to departing executives). Minder’s proposal would provide for annual votes on the total remuneration of the board of directors, the executive board and the advisory board. There would also be annual votes on the election of the chairman of the board, the individual directors and the members of the remuneration committee. Pension funds would be required to disclose their voting behaviour. The articles of association of companies would be required to set out the maximum number of board members for executives, the duration of their employment contracts and ceilings on the value of pensions, credit and loans provided to corporate executives. (Law on ‘unfair remuneration’ one step closer in Switzerland « Manifest – The Proxy Voting Agency, 12/14/2010)

Will we see a similar more in the US? While many Americans are upset with CEO pay, they may be even more disgusted with Wall Street bonuses.

More than 70 percent of Americans say big bonuses should be banned this year at Wall Street firms that took taxpayer bailouts, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

An additional one in six favors slapping a 50 percent tax on bonuses exceeding $400,000. Just 7 percent of U.S. adults say bonuses are an appropriate incentive reflecting Wall Street’s return to financial health. (Banning Big Wall Street Bonuses Favored by 70% of Americans – BusinessWeek)

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