Business News

For first time ever, top GE execs earn no cash bonuses

Greg Ryan
Jeff Immelt
Brian Snyder | Reuters

The year 2017 was a tough one for General Electric Co., and its top executives' bonuses reflected that — though there was still plenty of compensation doled out.

The Boston-based company awarded only one of its senior executives a cash bonus in 2017, according to a proxy filing Monday. Neither current CEO John Flannery nor former CEO Jeff Immelt received such a bonus, nor did GE's current and former chief financial officers, vice chairs, general counsel and human resources directors, GE said. The firm also reduced a payout for an incentive that had been awarded in 2015.

It's the first time in GE's more than 120 years of existence that no cash bonuses were paid out, said Lead Director John Brennan in a letter to shareholders. "While our compensation programs did not drive company performance in the way we had hoped, they did hold the senior leadership accountable," Brennan said.

More from Boston Business Journal:
Amazon, one of the world's richest companies, to get up to $10M in property-tax breaks
Wellness wave: Boutique fitness centers give landlords hot, less-risky lease options to attract tenants
New owner serving up 4 Au Bon Pain locations in Cambridge, Burlington, Braintree

Of GE's senior executives, only vice chair and Aviation CEO David Joyce received a cash bonus — $1.39 million — because the company assessed that division had a strong year.

Without a cash bonus, Flannery's total compensation was $9 million, including changes in his pension value and other deferred compensation, according to the filing. His perks included more than $1 million for relocation expenses related to both his move to Boston last year and a move to Chicago in 2016.

Flannery, who was named CEO in August, also realized an additional $3.6 million in value from the vesting of past incentive awards.

For the first time this year, publicly traded U.S. companies are required to report how their CEO pay compares to the median pay for their workforce as a whole. GE said that Flannery made 157 times as much as its median employee, who took home $57,211.

Immelt, Flannery's predecessor, earned nearly as much as Flannery, $8.1 million. That includes $820,000 for moving to Boston. But he also realized more than three times that amount — $25 million — in value from the vesting of past incentive awards.