November 16th, 2010
Recently my boyfriend sent me a link to an article about the top 15 highest paid charity CEOs. The article starts with a discussion, with a link to the actual list compiled by Newsweek. It’s funny because he frequently sends me lists of the highest paid CEO’s, executives, etc. I think he’s trying to tell me something. Something like “why don’t you get one of these jobs so I don’t have to ever work again and pwn my enemies in Halo?”
And I would LOVE to bring home the bacon, big time! But I want to dedicate myself to the non profit arts! There is no way I’ll make money now. We will always rent. Our children will have to go to state schools. We will never retire.
Then I read that article and thought oh yes, of course. Reasonable people will want to be compensated reasonable for goods and services. And these executives are no exception. Sure, the numbers might seem alarming. And yes, many people do not hesitate to balk at Mr. Mehta, president of the New York Philharmonic making $2.6m a year.
But then you might read the paragraph below in the linked article to put it in perspective. Plus he’s good at his job! If the New York Philharmonic has a strong enough infrastructure to afford these salaries, MORE POWER TO THEM!
But people will still criticize. Because it’s a charity! They are robbing donors blind! Apparently we are meant to bleed freely for our civil services.
Well, let’s put all this money talk into perspective. Here’s the list of the top 20 highest paid CEOs in 2009. Take a moment to click through and meet Larry Elison, Oracle CEO who makes $84.5m IN ONE YEAR.
Well wait, we can’t just judge on the #1 guy. He’s probably a weird anomaly, right? So then you scroll through to #20. Oh Louis Chenevert, you only make $17.9m a year at United Technologies? You are PATHETIC. But that’s still $15.3m more than the top executive for a charity. Hmmm.
Did you notice something else about that top 20 list? They are all old, white men. Yup, all of them. Oh, except for #3. That’s an old middle eastern man. Who sells petroleum.
Where my ladies at? So I find the link to the top 25 highest-paid women. And 25 too! That means more powerful women then men, right?
#1 Carol Bartz, President & CEO of Yahoo, makes $47.2m in one year. Nothing to sneeze at! But also 44% LESS than little ol’ Larry at Oracle. But she’s the highest paid! #2 is Larry’s right hand lady, President Safra Catz. She only makes $36.4m? ONLY? Also note that many of these 25 ladies are NOT CEOs. Some are CEOs, so that’s cool. They are also presidents, CFO’s, EVPs, and hey, that’s a HUGE accomplishment. But we don’t live in a country where we can roll off a list of top 25 female CEOs and it’ll even hold a candle to the boys’ club salaries.
It seems nuts to be nit picky about the salary difference of $30 to $40 million dollars, considering I can’t even fathom what that looks like. One time I had a few thousand in my bank account and I was like I’M FILTHY RICH! I’m gonna go buy a YACHT and some fireworks! Invite your friends!
So let’s go back with fresh eyes to that Charity CEO list. Most of those hard working people aren’t even breaking seven digits. And while the list is all male except for one lady, it at least has a lady in there (and ranked 11th! Not last!). The companies range from cancer centers to museums, from performing arts centers to worldwide charities fighting poverty. The charities are vast in causes and all ones I wouldn’t want to live without. SO PAY THEM WHAT THEY WANT. Because clearly, they are dedicating their services for a significantly smaller paycheck.
Now what about the other people in their organizations? The day to day, in the trenches workers? How do they get paid? Well that’s another blog, another time, friends.
Until then, let’s try to figure out exactly what Oracle sells and then see if it’s worth $84.5m a year or not. Because I’m almost positive what Larry does not drug young virgins, place them on top of a mountain in Greece, and prophesies my future. Oh I wish.
Until next week,