24/7 Wall St.: The outcry about overpaid CEOs has gone on for years as the financial press combs SEC statements for outlandish pay packages that sometime run into the tens of millions of dollars. Often lost among the large sums paid out as salary, bonuses, and stock options are special compensations for valuable services that very few people can afford — what is most commonly known as perks. Many public companies provide services, at no charge, to their CEOs, ranging from the use of private corporate airplanes to accounting services and security details. The value of these perks can add well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for some chief executives.
24/7 looked through a large number of proxy statements, including those for the 50 companies that paid their CEOs the most last year, to find special benefits for which shareholders paid extraordinary amounts. The chief executive officers who received these perks almost all have one or two things in common. Most are wildly rich, or work for wildly rich people. This includes moguls such as Barry Diller. Many of the CEOs on this list are also the founders of their companies, such as Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart. And many, like Las Vegas Sands casino boss Sheldon Adelson, have effective voting control over the public corporation they run.
It would be tempting to say, although it cannot be proven, that the most powerful CEOs based on wealth, ownership, and founder’s privileges get the best perks. They are certainly in a position to control their compensation packages better than most public company leaders.
So, from among the most generous CEO perks, 24/7 Wall St. has picked several of the most extravagant ones.