Friday, March 13, 2009

Office Depot boss sees pay cut . . . to $6.3 million

This morning, I read the headline “Office Depot Boss Sees 65 Percent Pay Cut”.

I think, great, finally, an executive is taking responsibility.

I read the first paragraph, which says, “Office Depot’s chief executive received a nearly 65 percent pay cut in 2008, a year in which the struggling office supplier posted a loss of nearly $1.5 billion and said it would close 9 percent of its stores to cut costs.”

I think, okay, that sounds like shared sacrifice, top to bottom. This guy’s a corporate hero.

Then I read, “Steve Odland received $6.3 million in total compensation in the recently completed fiscal year . . . in fiscal 2007, he received compensation valued at $17.8 million . . .”

Excuse me?

The man who led his company to a $1.5 billion dollar loss received $6.3 million in compensation, and that’s a pay cut?

Capping executive salaries at companies that get bailout money is a good idea. But, the deductibility of all executive salaries must be capped by a multiple of the firm’s lowest paid employee (whether it’s 10 or 50 or 100 times the salary of the lowest paid employee).

If the directors and shareholders of a private concern want to pay someone millions of dollars per year for destroying their wealth, that’s their choice. But, we don’t have to subsidize it with tax deductions.

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