According to Alan Johnson, managing director and founder of compensation consulting boutique Johnson Associates, some boards have moved to reduce discretion in bonus plans in order to appease investors and proxy advisors. “There’s this tension in the marketplace. A lot of it’s driven by ISS and Glass Lewis,” he says. “They hate discretion.”
Still, even if Schultz keeps showing up at the office every day, abdicating the CEO role frees him from some of the pressure of answering to shareholders’ concerns—especially after Starbucks stock fell 7.5% last year. And while Schultz probably has enough pull with the Starbucks board to keep his full pay, and then some, the company would likely be better off if he didn’t, says compensation consultant Alan Johnson of Johnson Associates.
“I think you’d want his pay to be cut in half to send a clear message that the other guy is the new guy,” Johnson says. “If taking a few million less helps the transition to the new CEO, that’s the smartest thing he could do.”
One recruiter says its mailbox has been jammed with CVs from outraged Deutsche staff who are not on what insiders call the “retention list.” Some of these come-and-get-me pleas are from people with at least ten years’ service, complaining that the bank has no regard for loyalty or performance.
“It’s a dramatic decision Deutsche made,” says Alan Johnson, a veteran pay consultant. “They knew there’d be big fallout.”
Alan Johnson, managing director of pay consulting firm Johnson Associates in New York, said the big gains for the leaders of American Express, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan reflect how stock option compensation can magnify gains in a company’s share price.
“When the stock goes up, with options, you get more leverage,” he said.
“I wish more companies would adopt the way [Exxon] pay[s] their executives, where you don’t get it when you leave, you’ve got to earn it, [and] you get [it] delivered over time,” says Alan Johnson, president and founder of compensation consulting boutique Johnson Associates.
“In 2017, banks will start to rebound – with some of the onerous regulations rolled back, maybe the banks will start to do better, which would be good for everybody,” he said. “A leading indicator of that is their stocks have done particularly well since the election, meaning the markets believe that this will be a positive change for the banks.
Wall Street Journal
“If you listen to politicians, you’d think bankers are still making money like it’s 2007. They’re not,” said Alan Johnson, who runs the firm and helps banks design compensation programs. “You can make this kind of money working at PepsiCo, and life at PepsiCo is lot more pleasant.”
“All signs are pointing to a disappointing end to an overall lackluster year on Wall Street,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, which conducted the study.
New York Times
Alan Johnson, the founder of Johnson Associates, describes this pattern as a “malaise,” and one that is unlikely to reverse itself anytime soon.
“I don’t see it changing for the next year or two, either,” he said in a phone interview. “The pressures in the industry on profit and fees are going to continue, and I think pay will likely continue to decline in 2017.”
The bank risks angering staff if it abandons cash incentives entirely, said Alan Johnson, founder of New York-based compensation consultancy Johnson Associates Inc. If the board proceeds, it should at least pay cash bonuses to junior staff and structure something creatively for senior bankers that could dramatically increase in value if the bank recovers.