America’s Nonsensical CEO Pay

From my latest column:

Philippe Dauman of Viacom, for example, is a very rich man—which is what you’d assume about the CEO of a major media firm, with the 100th highest amount of revenue of any publicly traded American company. Dauman brought in $33.4 million in salary, bonuses, perks, stock, and options in 2012. Nice work if you can get it. But then again, there’s Leslie Moonves of CBS. He’s also a very rich man. Given Dauman’s wealth, that’s exactly what you’d expect of the CEO of another large American media company. What you might not expect is that, even though Moonves’ firm is just two spots ahead of Dauman’s on the revenue rank order, Moonves made nearly twice what Dauman did last year: $60.3 million.

Lurking between Moonves and Dauman on the executive pay list is Disney’s Robert Iger, who brought in $37.1 million in 2012. Disney, which is more than twice as big as CBS or Viacom, had $42.3 billion in 2012 revenue, and its stock did better than the other companies in 2012, too.

So is Iger underpaid? Or perhaps Moonves is overpaid? Nobody knows. Read the rest.