The Wall Street Journal – Coronavirus Crisis Dents Salaries, Not Stock Awards, for Many CEOs

June 3, 2020

By Chip Cutter and Theo Francis

Hundreds of U.S. companies reduced salaries for their chief executives as the coronavirus pandemic swept across American business, a reversal for a group of leaders that until this year has ridden a bull market to record compensation.

Big-company CEOs had their richest paydays ever in 2019, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. But in March and April many took large cuts to their salaries after the deadly virus crippled global commerce. For 2020, few so far changed the equity awards that make up the bulk of executive compensation and the value of which is tied to the stock market.

Unlike prior years, now “the question is not how much of an increase are we giving over the normal salary; it’s when do we even restore the old salaries,” said Robin Ferracone, CEO of compensation consulting firm Farient Advisors LLC.

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