Summer means C-Suite data at Equilar, and having tackled pay strategies for CEOs and CFOs (as well as CEO perks), it’s time to move on to the COO, many companies’ secret organizational weapon. Like their CEO and CFO counterparts, COOs saw a decrease in their median total pay in 2009, falling 11.7 percent to a median of $1.93 million. As with the other members of the C-Suite, however, COO bonuses posted strong gains, rising 14.5 percent to a median of $400,000.
Our COO report examines 288 companies in the S&P 500 who’ve had their COOs in place for at least two years (to avoid distortion from new-hire awards). A few of Equilar’s other findings:
- Utilities COOs make the most, but pay is down in every industry: Utilities COOs had the highest median total pay, at $2.62 million in 2009. However, every industry saw a decrease in median total pay, with the biggest drop, 23.4 percent, in the Industrial Goods sector.
- Equity continues to constitute most of the pay package: Overall pay-package design remained stable in 2009. Equity awards continued to constitute the largest portion of total pay, at over 54 percent. Cash compensation increased from 39.4 percent of the pay mix in 2008 to 46.8 percent of the pay mix in 2009.
- Bonuses were found to be responsive to performance: COOs in the top-performing quartile of companies had a median bonus increase of 30.5 percent from 2008 to 2009, while those in the bottom quartile saw a median bonus decrease of 26.1 percent. Unlike our other C-Suite studies, though, the third quartile outperformed the second quartile, seeing a 20.5 percent bonus increase (versus the second quartile’s 7.8 percent bonus decrease).
- Early ’09 awards bounce back big, thanks to market timing: Options granted in early 2009, when markets were at record lows, were frequently increased in size to compensate for decreased value. These options are seeing major gains in intrinsic value as the market has recovered. 73.2 percent of options granted in 2008, however, remain underwater.
For more information on how COOs are faring in the current economic climate, request the full COO Pay Strategies Report from us. We’ll have new reports on executive and director stock-ownership guidelines coming out in the near future, so stay tuned!No tags for this post.