Monthly Archive for October, 2005

Obscene executive salaries

I received an annual report from one of the companies that I own a piece of recently. Diageo. They own a whole lot of liquor companies, or something. Anyway, I don’t usually bother reading these things. I’m not really very interested. And these annual reports are generally pretty vacuous. The news is always one of two things: “the company is doing great because of our superior leadership”, or “the company is doing badly because of prevailing economic conditions.”

But I flipped through this one, I was bored I guess. I know I shouldn’t, because these reports usually piss me off when I get to the “Summary of directors’ remuneration” section. What pisses me off is the ludicrous, unbelievable, obscene amounts of money these guys run off with. Consider Diageo’s CEO, Paul Walsh. His salary in 2005 was 2.3 million pounds. British pounds, we’re talking here. 2.3 million of them, for one year’s work. That’s serious money!

Here’s my position, in a nutshell. I don’t care who you are, or who you think you are, nobody, I mean nobody is worth 2.3 million pounds! I don’t care if your first name is Jesus and your last name is Christ, you are still not worth 2.3 million pounds. It is not possible for a single human being to do enough work to deserve that much money… per year… every year… plus stock options that probably make that amount look like chump change.

I know the justifications. This compensation is just a insignificant slice off the company’s profits. You need to pay this much to attract a world-class CEO. A good CEO will return it all and more to the shareholders. I know these justifications. I just don’t believe them.

Am I to believe, then, that if you scoured the four corners of the earth, you could not find somebody somewhere who could do this guy’s job, just as well as he does it, for only, say, a hundredth of that money? Nobody? Anywhere?

Am I to believe that every single business day, between 9am and 5pm, this guy does 9000 pounds worth of indispensable, top-quality work that no-one else could do?

And then there’s executive severance packages. Don’t even get me started about Carly Fiorina’s $21M thank-you present for flying the once-great Hewlett-Packard company into the dirt.

It’s all crap, I tell you. The only reason anybody gets away with running off with that much money is that the only people with enough shares to have a chance at changing the status quo won’t do it. They don’t want to kill the goose, they’re all waiting for their own big pay-off day to come.

Royal Medieval Faire photos online

I have added a gallery of 350 of the best photos taken by Craig and myself at the 2005 Royal Medieval Faire.

I think I’m way over my space allocation for my web-hosting account now. For some reason, their space quota system doesn’t seem to be counting up the space properly. Nobody tell them…