Counsel to Counsel – The Wages of Crisis: Executive Compensation Under Attack

    March 2009

    Public concern over executive compensation turned to outrage on the news that Wall Street executives garnered more than $18 billion in bonuses at the end of a financially catastrophic 2008. The President, Congress, the IRS, the SEC and company shareholders – not to mention a general public reeling from record job losses – are all paying closer attention to the salaries, benefits and incentives offered to top-level executives, especially at companies receiving TARP funds. This article, published in the March 2009 edition of Counsel to Counsel, features quotes from Gordon S. Kaiser Jr. and Michael G. Meissner, partners in our Cleveland office, and Thomas R. McGuigan, partner in our West Palm Beach office, on what to expect in new regulation and scrutiny of executive compensation, both as a part of bailout activities and as stand-alone legislation. Executive compensation assessments, they advise, should consider the full compensation spectrum including equity-based pay, incentives and bonuses, stock and options, and severance, with a particular eye toward how compensation relates to shareholder value.

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