$96,000 a Day and the Great Disconnect

Blog Post
October 9, 2012By Chuck Sheketoff

$96,000 a day.

That's Nike CEO and president Mark Parker's compensation, according to the newest list of executive pay at publicly owned companies in Oregon published by the Portland Business Journal on newsstands now (online version article and list only available to subscribers).

While Parker's $35.2 million in annual compensation tops the list, Nike employees in total hold five of the 10 top slots. Oregon's other Fortune 500 company, Precision Castparts, holds the number 2 slot and two others in the top 10.

The article notes the disconnect between CEO compensation and workers and the economy:

Many public company executives took pay cuts after the 2008 economic crash. Although sales have bounced back slowly, executive pay has rebounded more quickly. The median sales increase last year for companies represented by the state’s 20 highest-paid executives: 16 percent. The median raise: 24 percent.

"I would dare say the employees didn't get 24 percent raises," said Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of Westerville, Ohio-based the Value Alliance, which consults on CEO pay. "What you have is this continuing disconnect between what everybody that contributes to share price gets and what top executives get."

Income inequality has soared over the past few decades in Oregon, and one of the key drivers of inequality nationally has been the growth of chief executive officer earnings.

Parker’s $96,000 daily compensation was twice the annual compensation of the typical (median) Oregon household ($46,816) in 2011.

I should note that much of his compensation — about $20.5 million in stock — has strings attached: To get the stock Parker has to stay in his job for five years.

The typical Oregonian, of course, is looking for job security and can't demand a handsome sum to commit to stay in his or her job.

Yes, we live in the age of the Great Disconnect.

This blog post was originally posted on www.blueoregon.com on October 9, 2012. The original post can be found at http://www.blueoregon.com/2012/10/96000-dollars-a-day-great-disconnect/.