How to Pay Your CEO


Can we call it corruption?

In other words, the very firm that helps Verizon’s directors decide what to pay its executives has a long and lucrative relationship with the company, maintained at the behest of the executives whose pay it recommends.

No, we’ll call it corporate capitalism. The New York Times has a fantastic story today looking into the process by which corporations pay their CEOs. Arrangements like the above are hardly uncommon. And executive compensation often bears no relation to the actual performance of the company. Among other things, the story cites one study identifying 11 major companies “whose shareholder returns had been negative for five years, but whose chief executives’ pay had exceeded $15 million during the last two years combined.” Lucky them.

MORE: See this story for more. “The average pay for a chief executive increased 27 percent last year, to $11.3 million.” This at a time when median wages have stagnated.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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