Greenberg on CEO Perks: Jets, Cars, Hunting Lodges

Executive perks have been pretty much embarrassed away in public companies.

2008 Phantom Rolls-Royce Coupe
2008 Phantom Rolls-Royce Coupe

That’s especially true since the bar was lowered to $10,000 from $50,000 in the amount that must be disclosed.

Still, if you look hard enough, you can still find some that make you go, “huh?” Frank Glassner, of Veritas Executive Compensation Consultants, recently reviewed the latest batch of proxies.

Here’s some of what he found:

  • Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands , gets a car, a driver, the requisite private jet and the use of company personnel to do home repairs during business hours. The good news: he has to reimburse the company for the home repairs, but still...
  • Cablevision CEO James Dolan received $164,000 in free cable TV, Internet and phone, home security and use of the company's travel department to arrange for personal travel.
  • Home Bancshares Chairman John Allison. Despite his company getting TARP money, he received an $18,000 auto allowance and several thousand dollars for gas, country club dues and executive gifts.

Then there are the hunters: Stephen Smith, an executive with Sysco , the food company, received $20,000 for the use of a hunting lodge he partially owns. (Of course, it was used for customer and supplier hunting trips.)

And director Robert Young of Arkansas Best , the trucking company, also got reimbursed for the use of the company's hunting lodge. (The company’s hunting lodge?)

The list, even though it is shrinking, goes on and on.

My point: There is a role for perks, but when top execs can afford those perks without breaking their lifestyle, maybe those perks should come out of their hides, not their shareholders’.