Washington quarrels over CEO pay

Steve Henn Apr 19, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Should shareholders have more say in how much their CEOs make? It’s a big question in corporate America right now. And in Congress. The House is likely to pass a bill this week that would give shareholders more power, but that doesn’t mean it’ll ever pass. Steve Henn reports from Washington.

STEVE HENN: The bill’s chief sponsor, Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, says he wants to give shareholders an easy avenue to voice discontent over runaway executive pay.

Nonetheless the bill is opposed by the White House and has earned ire of business groups.

JOHN J. COSTELLANI: As it stands shareholders already have the right to vote on pay packages. This legislation mandates the votes for all companies.

And John J. Costellani president of the Businesses Roundtable, says it’s intrusive and impractical.

COSTELLANI: If you have a referendum on pay why not have a referendum on capitol expenditures? Why not a referendum or marketing strategy?

Republicans on the Hill worried aloud yesterday that the legislation would allow labor groups to force embarrassing corporate votes. Even so, the measure has attracted the support of many institutional investors.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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