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CEOs rake in perks despite pay backlash

Jets, cars, security and club memberships inflate CEO pay packages

By , Network World
August 02, 2009 02:00 PM ET

Network World - Executive compensation is under fire, but CEO perks are alive and well. Top executives at some of the largest tech companies enjoy access to company jets, personal security, financial planning advice, club memberships and more. Across all industries, the median value of these and similar perks rose nearly 7% in 2008, according to an Associated Press analysis, even as overall CEO compensation fell 7%. 

Read on to see which tech companies are paying more than $1 million in perks and which ones are anti-perk (notably Cisco and Microsoft). Items are arranged from the costliest to the least expensive perks, and our report includes extras doled out to CEOs at eight of the largest non-tech corporations, for the sake of comparison. Data is drawn from companies' proxy statements, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

CEO perks, from biggest to smallest

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
$1.4 million for security

As it has for the last few years, Oracle incurred costs and expenses of $1.4 million to secure CEO Larry Ellison's residence in 2008. (Oracle paid $1.7 million in 2007, $1.8 million in 2006 and $1.4 million in 2005 for Ellison's residential security.) But Oracle isn't the only party that pays for Ellison's home security: "Mr. Ellison paid for the initial procurement, installation and maintenance of the equipment for this system and the replacement of any equipment, and we paid for the annual costs of security personnel," Oracle said in its proxy statement.

Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell
$1.2 million for security

Michael Dell's sole reported perk for fiscal 2009 is an expensive one: personal and residential security totaling $1.2 million. (The company paid $1 million in 2008 and $1.1 million in 2007 for the same.) However, Dell in 2009 didn't partake of some of the other perquisites the company offers its executive officers, including financial counseling and tax preparation services; an annual physical for each executive officer and his or her spouse or domestic partner; and personal and business technical support.

Qwest Chairman and CEO Edward Mueller
$617,060 for aircraft use, relocation benefits and cash

Qwest CEO Edward Mueller's perks included $493,781 for personal use of corporate aircraft and relocation benefits of $48,279. He also received a flexible benefit payment of $75,000, which Qwest said "is a cash payment made at the beginning of each year in lieu of the various perquisites commonly paid to executives at other companies. Although these payments are intended to replace the piecemeal payment of most perquisites, we do not require executives to use the money for any particular purpose and we do not ask executives to report to us the purposes for which the money is used."

Ford Motor President and CEO Alan Mulally
$875,764 for aircraft use, security, tax reimbursements and more

Perks and personal benefits for Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally in 2008 added up to $602,954 -- including $344,109 for personal use of company aircraft, $112,114 for home security, and $109,697 for temporary housing. Separately, Ford paid Mulally $239,834 for tax reimbursements and $32,976 for insurance premiums on Mulally's behalf. Ford's executive perks also include fuel and car washes for evaluation vehicles loaned to executives. "This program requires officers to provide written evaluations on a variety of our vehicles, providing important feedback on the design and quality of our products," the company said in its proxy statement.

Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt
$508,763 for security, aircraft use

Google CEO Eric Schmidt's perks in 2008 included $402,562 for personal security (a drop from the $474,662 paid for Schmidt's personal security in 2007 and $532,755 paid in 2006) and $106,201 for personal use of aircraft chartered for Google business.

IBM Chairman, President and CEO Sam Palmisano
$493,881 for aircraft use

IBM chief Sam Palmisano's 2008 perquisites  included personal travel on company aircraft valued at $493,881, along with financial planning, use of company autos, personal security, and family attendance at company-related events (IBM didn't disclose the value of these other perks).

HP Chairman, President and CEO Mark Hurd
$481,088 for security, aircraft use and more

HP chief Mark Hurd's perquisites included security services and systems valued at $255,872; personal aircraft usage totaling $135,734; a $71,482 mortgage subsidy attributed to relocation expenses; and $18,000 for financial counseling. (Hurd in February announced plans to cut 20% of his base pay as part of a companywide effort to cut employee salaries and benefits.)

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