The debate over CEO pay is decades long. Boards believe their chief executive officers have skills that cannot be replaced. Shareholders and workers believe that annual compensation, which can go into the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, can never be justified, mainly if the company’s workers are paid very little. (These companies control over half their industries.)
Recently, shareholders have been able to vote on executive pay. However, these votes rarely succeed in changing pay. Investors and shareholders did have a small victory in 2017. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began to require that CEO pay be compared to the median compensation of those who work at the companies they run. CEOs at many public corporations are paid hundreds of times more than their employees, based on these median figures. This information is put into filings made to the SEC.
Based on 2022 data provided so far for S&P 500 companies, according to AI-driven SEC data company MyLogIQ, Walmart CEO Doug McMillion makes 933 times what the median employee at the company does. He makes $25,306,414, while the median pay for a Walmart worker is $27,136. The Walmart calculation is based on 2,122,790 employees.
Who determines McMillon’s pay? To a large extent, the Walmart family. According to the proxy:
[A]pproximately 47% of our company’s Shares are held by members of the family of Sam Walton, our company’s founder. Three generations of Walton family members have served on our Board, which demonstrates the Walton family’s interest in and commitment to the long-term success of our company. Despite their substantial ownership in the company, the members of the Walton family traditionally have held only three seats on our Board, including the Non-Executive Chairman.
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The Walton family is the richest in the world, with a net worth of $247 billion. Walmart, the company, also does extremely well. In the most recently reported quarter, Walmart had revenue of $162.7 billion and a net income of $6.3 billion. Based on revenue, it is the largest company in America.
Walmart pays its front-line workers very little because it can. Many are not well enough educated to get better jobs. That is unlikely to change for the great majority of them.
Is McMillion worth a pay package 933 times that of his median workers? It depends on whether you ask him, the board or the workers.
Data provided by AI-driven data firm MyLogIQ, which collects and distributes SEC information.
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