Compensation consultants like to say that CEO pay is as much an art as a science. Pay packages consist of base salary, bonuses and awards of stock and options. But often, the most telling part of a CEO's compensation package is in the details of the smallest entry on the ledger: the perks and benefits.
These figures, found under the "other compensation" heading in a public company's proxy filing, can show investors a lot about what the board of directors thinks of a particular CEO.
Consider the case of Oracle orcl CEO Larry Ellison and Dell dell founder (and CEO) Michael Dell. By one measure, Ellison was among the best paid CEOs of 2007, with a total package of $61.2 million, while Dell is near the bottom, taking in a paltry $2 million for the year.
But another metric makes the two the most valuable CEOs in the country. The details of their "other compensation" reveal that Oracle's board spent $1.7 million on security for Ellison. Dell's board spent $1.05 million on security for its CEO. Other CEOs receive hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of security services, but Ellison and Dell top the charts in this category.
Another popular perk is travel on the corporate jet. Yes, it's necessary for business, but among Standard & Poor's 500 companies,CEOs get to use the company plane for weekend getaways and vacations with the family.
Among the heaviest users of this perk: American Electric Power aep CEO Michael Morris got $289,865 worth of travel subsidized by shareholders; American Express axp CEO Ken Chenault racked up $323,884 on the corporate jet; Coca-Cola CEO ko E. Neville Isdell enjoyed $341,849 in subsidized flight time; Deere de CEO Robert Lane got $324,825; and IBM ibm chief Samuel Palmisano received $406,235 worth of travel on the company plane.
Some CEOs are landlubbers: Goldman Sachs gs CEO Lloyd Blankfein enjoyed the personal services of a car and driver worth $233,053. Campbell Soup cpb CEO Douglas Conant's personal use of a company car and driver cost $100,383.
Country club dues, which used to be a standard perk in the corner office, are fading as an executive goodie. Only a handful of companies in the S&P 500 reported paying dues for their top executives.
At Fifth Third Bancorp fitb, the tradition lives on. CEO Kevin Kabat received $28,682 to pay for his country club dues; Chief Financial Officer Christopher Marshall got $14,000 for the same benefit, and the golf games of other named executives were also subsidized.
And at AmerisourceBergen abc, CEO David Yost received $3,576 in country club dues for 2007, while Executive Vice President Steven Collis got $31,952 to pay for his country club. Former president Kurt Hilzinger received $6,890 for the same benefit.
Finally, the award for hardest-working CEO, or the designation as the guy most in need of a vacation, goes to Lockheed Martin's lmt Robert Stevens. Last year, Stevens received about $35,000 in "other compensation" to pay for vacation time that he didn't take. The last time he took time off, according to Lockheed, was a trip to Cleveland for Thanksgiving in 2006.