One CEO is doing his part to close the gap between himself and his employees.
Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska is declining his entire $3 million bonus and instead will use the money to buy shares for 120 of his more than 72,0000 employees, according to the BBC.
Rusal, Deripaska’s company, said it's a one-time move, but if the company deems it successful, executives may boost awards to employees through similar schemes.
Deripaska's do-gooder move may help him escape some of the controversy swirling around him. Business rivals have accused the billionaire of bribery and extortion in various lawsuits, according to ABC News, though his representatives deny all such claims and none have been reported successful. Media outlets have also accused Deripaska's companies of tax evasion both in Russia and abroad, allegations he vigorously denies.
A representative of Mr. Deripaska emailed this statement to The Huffington Post: “Mr. Deripaska is a respected Russian businessman and philanthropist. These accusations are outdated and remain groundless, false and deeply insulting. Mr Deripaska has never been convicted of any crime let alone the suggested offences and strongly denies the accusations being levelled against him.”
Though Deripaska, who Forbes estimates is worth $8.5 billion, can certainly spare the $3 million, he’s bucking the conventions of his fellow CEOs. Cash bonuses to executives in the U.S. jumped 25 percent last year, and there was also a boost in company perks and overall cash compensation, The New York Times reported in April.
Yet at the same time that corporate chiefs are taking home more of their companies’ money, the gulf between them and their workers is growing. The average ratio of CEO-to-worker pay for S&P 500 companies was 204 last year, according to Bloomberg, up 20 percent from 2009 and 1,000 percent since 1950.
Deripaska isn’t the only CEO doing his part to close the gap. Yang Yuanqing, the head of technology company Lenovo, gave $3 million of his bonus away to some of his workers last year, but also kept a cool $2.2 million for himself.
Clarification: This story has been updated with a comment from a representative of Deripasaka and language in the story has been updated to reflect that no bribery and extortion claims against Deripaska have ever been reported successful and that his representatives deny all such claims.