When Hewlett-Packard’s Chief Executive Mark Hurd resigned last month he received something few regular workers see when they quit their jobs under a cloud: A massive payout.
Turns out Hurd is far from the only top executive to be rewarded with a rich package despite a management performance that could be considered less than optimal — especially by rank-and-file workers.
A new report concludes that chief executives of the 50 firms that have laid off the most workers since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008 took home 42 percent more pay in 2009 than their peers at other large U.S. companies.
The report, from the Institute of Policy Studies, found that the 50 layoff leaders received $12 million on average in 2009, compared with an average compensation of $8.5 million for chief executives of companies in Standard & Poor’s 500. Each of the 50 companies examined in the report laid off at least 3,000 workers between November 2008 and April 2010.
“Our findings illustrate the great unfairness of the Great Recession,” said Sarah Anderson, lead author of the study, “CEO Pay and the Great Recession,” the latest in a series of annual “Executive Excess” reports published by the institute, a progressive think tank. “CEOs are squeezing workers to boost short-term profits and fatten their own paychecks.”