– We see a lot of companies with rather mediocre results have very large salary packages. “We’re seeing greed approaching a level we’ve never seen before, which will be very detrimental to shareholders,” Nicolai Tangen told Financial time.
The Petroleum Fund, which owns an average of 1.5 percent of all listed companies in the world, voted against executive pay at Intel’s general meeting this week. They did the same at Apple’s rally in March, where the boss’ salary package in 2021 was estimated at between 91 million and 135 million dollars.
Ownership Director Carine Smith Ihenacho of the Petroleum Fund said they were focusing on the United States because that’s where the real high-paid leaders are, but added that they would also like to look at salaries in Europe and elsewhere.
The median salary for CEOs of S&P 500 companies, which have reported figures for 2021, has risen to $14.4 million annually, up from $13.2 million a year in 2020, according to ISS Corporate Solutions.
It will only get worse
Tangen believes the problem will only get worse if investors don’t take action.
– If shareholders don’t tighten the way they vote, this will only continue. We feel to some extent that the shareholders have not done their job in this area. “We’re seeing a shift in mood among the world’s major shareholders towards more scrutiny and more demands for alignment,” he said.
– But the ultimate responsibility clearly lies with the CEO and the board of directors, Tangen said.
However, the management of the oil fund does not oppose all major wage packages and points to JPMorgan and Amazon where the funds have chosen long-term remuneration politicians. At Amazon, managers receive shares that are newly distributed after ten years. The goal is to ensure that managers have the same incentives as shareholders.
– As long-term shareholders, we prefer managers to have the same incentives as us.
– Not for our sake
In the column in Today’s business On Friday, Tangen and director of ownership Ihenacho wrote that they will take a critical look at US executive salaries during this year’s rally season.
– We will tighten our voting in the US in cases where the pay package is unusually large and not long-term enough, they wrote.
– The Petroleum Fund has long criticized the fact that some companies offer too large salary packages to top managers. As shareholders, it is not in our interest for companies to pay more than necessary to motivate good leaders. The payment spiral causes additional costs for us as shareholders in more than 9,000 companies, it further stated.
– What is most important to us is that management has the same interests as shareholders, namely that the company develops well in the long term and delivers good returns.
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