Sweeter Perks Make Up for Falling CEO Pay

Free bodyguards, life insurance, travel rise despite public outcry
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2009 10:08 AM CDT
Want to travel for free in a Gulfstream business jet? Just become a top executive at a big company.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, file)
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(Newser) – While average CEO compensation dropped 7% in 2008, packages of fringe benefits rose by the same amount, the AP reports. Higher-ups at big companies received perks that ranged from a personal car (complete with driver) to free life insurance to flights on the company jet. One CEO received $400,000 in financial planning services, far more than the majority of American households earn in salary.

The rise in perks comes despite public backlash against lavish payments—in cash or otherwise—to the leaders of struggling companies. In addition to the personal benefits and payments into retirement programs, many honchos also see their employers match their charitable contributions. XTO Energy has so far given $3.1 million to the school that a retired CEO's children attend.