A CEO lobby group has attacked the media’s portrayal of their compensation with a report claiming the pay is fair — but the group’s research is being called into question.
On Wednesday, the Business Roundtable issued a news release saying that growth in CEO pay has trailed shareholder returns. It also attacked media coverage of executive pay for being distorted, misleading, oftentimes erroneous, sensational, inaccurate and unfair.
Basically, they say it’s crap.
In reply, Huffington Post writer Eric J. Weiner has attacked the research as being biased and based on spurious assumptions. He asks why the report has no examples of the media’s mishandling and calls the report’s central argument “a crock.”
“By starting in 1995 the CEOs are using pre-Internet bubble stock prices to boost their return comparisons,” Weiner writes, adding: “The real trouble is that imperial CEOs have become utterly divorced from rank-and-file workers and have come to feel entitled to completely separate standards of pay.”
Companies face a challenge trying to communicate how their executives are paid. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with explaining why the directors think the pay is fair and how they come to their conclusions. However, those arguments need to be clear and transparent — even if they’re not defensible.