Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Executive Privileges Modis CEO Top Earner among Heads of Local Public Companies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Executive Privileges Modis CEO Top Earner among Heads of Local Public Companies

Article excerpt

********** CORRECTION (4/28/99)

In 1998, Landstar System Inc.'s earnings from continuing operations was $3.10 per diluted share. Because of a reporter's error, that information in a story and chart on Page F-1 yesterday was incorrect.

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Corporate executives are making big money off stock options these days, but the booming stock market isn't the only thing driving up executive pay.

Even without those potentially lucrative options, top executives of Jacksonville public companies saw their salary and bonus packages rise by an average of 9 percent in fiscal 1998, with six executives earning total compensation packages of more than $1 million, according to proxy statements filed by the companies.

The top package on the list went to Modis Professional Services Inc. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Derek E. Dewan, who earned a base salary of $350,000, a bonus of $3.7 million and about $50,000 in insurance benefits for a total package of $4.1 million, not including options.

The list comprises 27 companies based in the Jacksonville area or with large subsidiaries in the area that list their top Jacksonville executive on their proxy statements, such as CSX Corp.

Alvin R. "Pete" Carpenter, chief executive of CSX's Jacksonville-based subsidiary, CSX Transportation Inc., was the second-biggest earner with a total package of $2.25 million.

Actually, another Jacksonville executive earned a lot more than both of them but is not listed because his company doesn't exist anymore. Former Barnett Banks Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Rice earned a package totaling $24.8 million, according to the proxy filed by BankAmerica Corp.

Barnett was acquired by NationsBank in early 1998 and later in the year, NationsBank merged with BankAmerica. Rice was NationsBank chairman before it merged with BankAmerica.

Rice's package included restricted stock valued at $14.75 million and a $6.4 million "income tax gross-up payment."

Complaints from shareholders about high executive pay packages have quieted recently, with more companies tying compensation to increases in stock value and corporate profits. But there are still critics.

The AFL-CIO, which has an Internet Web site (www.paywatch.org) designed to protest high executive pay, said the average CEO of a major corporation made 326 times more than the typical American factory worker in 1997. The labor organization blames high pay on boards of directors who are too close to the CEO to make independent judgments of their pay.

"CEO pay is clearly out of control and conflicted country club boards are some of the main culprits," said a statement by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka.

"Meanwhile, American factory workers are suffering layoffs, often at the very same companies which have these rigged boards. …

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