June 21, 2006

CEOs earn 262 times pay of average worker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chief executive officers in the United
States earned 262 times the pay of an average worker in 2005,
the second-highest level in the 40 years for which there is
data, a nonprofit think-tank said on Wednesday.

In fact, a CEO earned more in one workday than an average
worker earned in 52 weeks, said the Economic Policy Institute
in Washington, D.C.

The typical worker's compensation averaged just under
$42,000 for the year, while the average CEO brought home almost
$11 million, EPI said.

In recent years, compensation has been a hot issue with
shareholders who have been bombarded with news stories about
chief executives who are given multimillion dollar bonus and
pay packages even if shares have declined.

For example, the chief executives of 11 of the largest
companies were awarded a total of $865 million in pay in the
last two years, even as they presided over a total loss of $640
billion in shareholder value, a recent study from governance
firm the Corporate Library, found.

In 1965, U.S. CEOs at major companies earned 24 times a
worker's pay. That ratio surged in the 1990s and hit 300 at the
end of the recovery in 2000, according to EPI.

CEO pay is defined by the sum of salary, bonus, value of
restricted stock at grant and other long-term incentives.
Worker pay is hourly wage of production and nonsupervisory
works, EPI said.