By Paul Hodgson – CCO and Senior Research Associate
The new socialist government in France – leading the way by taking a 30 percent pay cut itself – promised to impose pay limits on executives at companies in which it owns a majority stake, according to the Financial Times today. Pay will be capped at 20 times that of the lowest paid worker in the company and will lead to substantial pay cuts for CEOs, whose earnings are, frankly, already far lower than typical CEO pay levels in the US.
Pressure will also be exerted on other companies in which the government owns shares, but not a controlling share.
According to the FT, the government will also vote against the severance package for the former CEO of Air France-KLM, which is laying off thousands of workers, because it considers it unfair and excessive.
The only company in the US to limit pay in such a way is, of course, Whole Foods. There the CEO’s cash compensation is limited to 19 times the average employee wage. While no such limit applies to equity compensation, such awards continue to be moderate, and total compensation for the co-CEOs of Whole Foods is much lower than at equivalent national food retailers.