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Santa’s high-ranking retail helpers

Stacey Vanek Smith Dec 5, 2007
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Doug Krizner: Looks like the elves will get some high-powered help this holiday season. The CEOs of Fresh-Direct and 1-800-Flowers will be making deliveries, and top brass at FAO Schwarz and Saks Fifth Avenue will be answering phones and working the floors. Is this about getting in Santa’s good graces? Stacey Vanek-Smith reports.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: It’s no secret that retail staff is spread thin during the holiday bustle. But that’s not the only reason for CEOs to join the masses, says John Challenger of outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas.

John Challenger: It seems that CEOS today are reacting to some of the reports that they just get paid way too much money, they sit up on high but they don’t connect with the people.

Challenger says executive corruption at companies like Enron and Tyco tarnished the image of CEOs in the U.S. He says pitching in is a good PR move. It boosts morale and it gives execs a closer look at the operation on the ground.

Challenger: They learn more about different areas of the company, they can relate to the people, in some way or another give back and show appreciation.

And today’s CEOs have a lot to appreciate. Back in the 60’s, CEOs earned about 25 times what the average worker did. Today, they earn about 360 times more.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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