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“Say-on-Pay”

If you haven’t heard the term Say-on-Pay, you will soon. Clinton, Obama and now McCain are all supporting a Say-on-Pay Senate bill that would require public companies to give shareholders an annual non-binding vote on top officers’ compensation. The candidates have been stumping hard on this issue. A Wall Street Journal story this weekend reported that the Obama campaign recently ran a TV commercial in 14 states that assails chief executives “who are making more in 10 minutes than ordinary workers are making in a year.” Sure, I have commented recently on the excessive severance payments given to failed executives, but I am concerned that the current hype may result in Washington’s intrusion into the realm of corporate boards. Sarbanes-Oxley has done a fine job focusing boards on their oversight responsibilities, including the issue of compensation. Let’s allow the new controls to work, and they will.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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