Nobody works for a dollar

Nobody works for a dollar

Summary: Not the executives at Chrysler, Ford and GM and not the CEOs of Apple, Google and Yahoo. Oh, and especially not this writer.

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Executive salaries, plus or minus a few jets.
Blasting across the television screen and into my living room last night was a headline that never fails to drive me batty: Execs Say They'll Accept $1 Salary.

In this case, the self-sacrificing, willing paupers were the CEOs of the three biggest auto-makers on the occasion of their $34 billion bailouts, vowing to sweeten the deal for taxpayers by sacrificing their yearly millions.

Except, none of these boldface names actually work for a dollar. Not former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, not Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, nor its CEO, Eric Schmidt. Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs doesn't work for 100 pennies a year either, and neither do the execs of Capital One or Pixar, all who have been the cause for previous "Works for Pennies!" headlines.

One dollar salaries are a PR move: a message to shareholders, employees and taxpayers that the bosses care, and are doing everything in their power to get the company out of the mess they've overseen, even sacrificing their own bottom line to save the company. They're symbolic gestures, kind of like arriving for their meeting on Capitol Hill in hybrid cars after being chastised for arriving at the previous meeting in private jets. They're no more retiring their private jets than they will be opening cans of soup for dinner should the bailout meet approval.

What these "dollar menu" executives actually earn is closer to the millions that their salaries once represented: a sum of stocks, bonuses and other forms of compensation, such as those private jets. In 2007 Jobs made $14.6 million just exercising stock options and Google's Schmidt made $480,561. In 2005, Page and Brin made about $1.5 billion in stock options. How much these automakers will stand to make should this bailout be passed remains to be seen -- through SEC filings and watchdogs like The Corporate Library -- but one can only hope that news channels and papers will give those numbers equally visible and enthusiastic coverage.

Topics: Banking, CXO, IT Employment

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14 comments
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  • Nobody Works for $1

    Amen. If the auto executives put as much energy and creativity in managing the car business as they do managing their PR they wouldn't be needing tax payers to bail them out.
    elehwald@...
  • yeah...but your not supposed to point that out

    Of course it's all a sham...a scheme...a ploy to make the rich richer and at the tax payers expense. But hey, in January all that will be a thing of the past right...the messiah has been elected...HA
    You forgot to mention the mortgage lenders bailout which failed and then passed....did they cut money from the bailout, NO, they added earmarks that increased it's total.
    Our Country is suffering pretty bad right now, and I'm betting our enemies are having a nice little chuckle over it as this is what they planned with the attacks of 9/11...financial breakdown...and it seems our politicians are all too happy to join in the destruction.
    DeepThoughtsShallowMind
    • RE:

      Really now? Terrorists causing the economy to go bad?
      Because they totally have control over our money and
      make us do stupid things with our money. They also run
      the car manufacturing buisnesses. Yeah. Right. It all
      makes sense.
      gumby701@...
    • Re: 9/11 remark

      Jesus... you can't mean that 9/11 is responsible for this right? Tell me you don't mean that.
      You just mean that, seeing the current bad financial situation of the US (which was all US decisions like real the estate bubble, or selling derivatives which had no value then speculating on gains and losses etc...), any bad guys out there must be happy. THIS is what you mean, right?
      Only I doubt that the 8-year old Asians who work to produce small shoes for our western world cute little babies, can really understand such subtle economic terms. Neither will the 15-year old Palestinian who just saw his brother/sister/mother getting killed and just wishes to wrap 10 kilos of C4 around his waste and blow up himself.
      So going back to the $1 salary, just send 1 million emails to them saying you don't buy it. Maybe they'll think twice next time.
      s.chantzis@...
  • "Nobody" Is Too Broad

    I think Michael Bloomberg works as mayor of the City of New York for $1 a year, with no bonuses, options, etc.
    However, "No corporate executive" works for $1 might be correct.
    AMusnikow
    • Rich Already!

      And he probably has a fortune already to draw upon as do the so called poor CEO's that are perpetuating this scam
      stuoutlaw1@...
  • RE: Nobody works for a dollar

    If I remember correctly Lee Iacocca did this years ago at Chrysler. Can't these guys come up with something more original? Its all a show.
    mgbrooks312
  • Actually

    The are people in other countries that work for less
    than a $ a week.
    superhobo
  • Great idea for Congress too!

    I think $1 pay for top executives is a great idea....so much I think it should extend to our Congress and the Legislative branch of government.

    Take Hillary for example. There's a roadblock coming on the path to Sectary of State. The Constitution won't allow an office to be taken by someone who voted on a pay raise for that position while seated in Congress. Ut oh. The fix is she will have to roll back the salary to the previous level. But why stop there? Mr. & Mrs. Former President are filty rich and don't need that 188,000 USD pittance of a salary, so whoosh $1 it is.

    Same for the rest, independent of party. Almost all of them have wealth beyond what they are paid for their positions; otherwise they would not be qualified or capable of being elected.

    So Congress, you brought this up, now put your money where your mouth is LOL.
    Colfax_Mac
    • Congress for $1?

      Sure Congress is full of rich people who don't need a salary of our tax dollars, and many of them don't earn $1 anyway. But if you only paid them $1, you'd pretty much *require* anyone running for Congress to be rich already. Just because Congress is run by rich people today, why force it to always be so? A "regular person" can't run for Congress if they're not going to get paid.
      frylock
  • RE: Those were hybrids?

    You mention that all three of them showed up driving hybrids this week...
    Let's review:

    The Chevy Mailbu Hybrid is nothing more than a huge starter motor, an aftermarket product from Canada. It improves mileage by 1mpg.

    The Dodge Durango was supposed to be hybrid in 2004, until they decided to make the Durango bigger, and the hybrid didn't have enough power. It's not available to the public today.

    The Ford Escape Hybrid actually works, has been purchased by thousands of "the folks", and it's Ford that said they can survive without a bailout, but can't survive GM or Chrysler collapsing.

    What does that say about the reality of the big 3 hybrid production, and high mileage development overall?
    ClarenceD
  • NY Mayor

    yes, it's true. Mike Bloomberg does work for a $ a year. and so did former deputy mayor, Dan Doctoroff. "nobody" is way too broad.
    berkowitz_@...
  • Not so.

    "CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. All of these folks put their faith in the valuation of the companies they lead by taking home a $1 annual salary."
    kozmcrae
  • RE: Nobody works for a dollar

    Really now? Terrorists causing the economy to go bad?
    Because they totally have control over our money and
    make us do stupid things with our money. They also run
    the car manufacturing buisnesses. Yeah. Right. It all
    makes sense.
    gumby701@...