Cramer 'Appalled' Over CEO Pay

Kraft Foods is “one of the most miserable performers” in the food group, Cramer said during Tuesday’s Stop Trading!. So management shouldn’t expect a bonus this year.

Of course, that didn’t stop Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld from collecting $17 million in total compensation for 2008, despite bringing in “nothing” for the company, Cramer said. Kraft lagged its peers during a year when cheaper foods should have done well with cash-strapped consumers. But KFT was an “abysmal stock” anyway.

“They can justify themselves any way possible,” Cramer said of underperforming CEOs, “other than perhaps looking in the mirror.”

“When you’re screwing up,” he continued, “you give money back.”

The U.S. is already in an uproar over the compensation of bank executives, specifically those at the head of the country's most troubled firms. The fact that the same thing is happening in companies outside the financial sector emphasizes just how pervasive the problem is.

AT&T might also fall into this category. Chairman, CEO and President Randall Stephenson took a 17% pay cut, but still earned $15 million in 2008. Stephenson did not take a bonus for the year, but his salary increased 22% to about 1.4 million.

“A lot of these people are really overpaid versus what they do,” Cramer said.

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