'Pay Czar': No 'Edicts' Coming on Compensation

The federal government does not intend to declare "imperial edicts" with regard to executive pay, and the Obama administration has given its "Pay Czar" jurisdiction only over companies that have received federal bailouts, the man who now bears that unofficial title told CNBC Thursday.

Kenneth Feinberg, TARP Executive Compensation Special Master, indicated as well that he dislikes the term "Pay Czar."

  • Video: For Part I of the Feinberg Interview, Click Here

“The phrase 'Pay Czar' is very unfortunate,” Feinberg said. “It sounds like I’m going to issue some imperial edict that’s going to compel changes in compensation.”

Feinberg said there are various factors that will determine the compensation levels.

  • Video: For Part II of the Feinberg Interview, Click Here

“Competitiveness is just one variable,” he said. “Profitability, avoidance of excesses of risk—these are the variables that I should apply as part of the law.”

He said the role of the government's compensation committee is to advise companies on which elements should be considered when it comes to executive pay.

“I will be dealing with those companies as well as outside experts and Treasury officials,” he said.

Feinberg has held his current position for two days. He will not be paid for job.

While the companies that are not receiving TARP assistance are not part of Feinberg’s jurisdiction, he hopes that some of the compensation recommendations will be models for others to adopt voluntarily.