Criticism of Executive Pay Rules Is Just 'Spin': Pay Czar


Pay czar Kenneth Feinberg disputed claims that limiting executive pay will push companies' top talent to firms that have no restrictions on compensation, telling CNBC he's seen no hard evidence of this phenomenon.

Feinberg Feisty Over Pay

Similarly, he said that regulating pay has had no negative effect on states' tax revenues, calling both arguments a form of "spin."

"I don't buy it," he said. "Where are these people all going? Where are these tax revenues going to disappear? ... Show me the empirical evidence that these people are leaving."

Feinberg, who has been largely criticized for placing too heavy of a hand on the private sector, said he has no desire to extend his jurisdiction outside of the five firms on which he currently sets regulations.

But although he has power over only General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler, Chrysler Financial and AIG, he said there are many other forms of legislation that are "all out there to reign in executive pay," including the Volcker Rule and regulatory reform.

He also hopes companies outside of his power will voluntarily adopt his suggestions, he said.

"What I'm hoping, and what were seeing with some companies, is that the prescription I'm laying out — small cash-based salaries, no guaranteed compensation, stock which can only be redeemed over a lengthy period of time — hopefully those prescriptions will be voluntarily adopted by companies that aren't under my exclusive jurisdiction."

Feinberg said that although he doesn't think government should have a role in setting executive pay, the regulations he put in place helped stabilize the struggling companies during the financial crisis.