Rising prices and profits translated into pay packages for oil company
chief executive officers that are nearly three times the size of similarly sized
businesses, a new study from two watchdog groups said.
In 2005, the CEOs of the largest 15 oil companies averaged $32.7 million in
compensation, compared with $11.6 million for all large U.S. firms, according
to the study, released today by the Institute for Policy Studies and United
for a Fair Economy.
Amid reports of multimillion-dollar pay packages, shareholder activists have
sponsored resolutions to limit compensation at companies like Exxon Mobil Corp.
and Home Depot Inc. In May, three members of the House of Representatives criticized
the retirement benefits of former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond and asked the company
to fill a gap in its workers' pension fund.
``Instead of lining the pockets of executives, they should be investing the
money into new sources of energy that go beyond fossil oils,'' said Sarah Anderson,
director of the global economy project at the Washington-based Institute for
Policy Studies, and a co-author of the study.
Anderson's group researches peace, justice and environmental issues. United
for a Fair Economy, a non-profit group based in Boston, tries to raise awareness
about the effects of ``concentrated wealth and power,'' according to its web
Combined $512.9 Million
Last year, the top executives at the 15 largest oil companies earned
a total of $512.9 million, the study said. That figure includes the
$95.1 million awarded last year to William Greehey, chief executive officer
of Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. refiner, took home, including salary,
bonuses, restricted stock and exercised stock options. Raymond, who retired
in January as chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, the most profitable U.S.
company, collected $69.7 million.
Oil executives help manage the bottom lines as well as directing investments
in oil and gas as well as fossil fuels, said John Felmy, chief economist at
the American Petroleum Institute in Washington.
``They are paying dividends, buying back stock, and managing their businesses
well,'' Felmy said. ``Their CEOs should be fairly compensated.''
The groups also examined the pay of defense contractors' chief executives.
The top executives at defense contractors and military suppliers have benefited
from the boom in government spending since Sept. 11, 2001, and the war in Iraq.
As a group, the CEOs of the 34 defense contractors have received total compensation
of just under $1 billion since 2002. The highest-paid executive in the group
was George David, the chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corp., the maker
of Pratt & Whitney jet engines and the Sikorsky helicopters. David received
$31.9 million last year, the study said.
Vineeta Anand in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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