Friday, March 16, 2012

Athlete Pay vs. CEO Pay

There was an article on Bloomberg this morning about the high pay of executives at Berkshire Hathaway.  It highlights the following figures:
Berkshire gave $17.4 million in 2011 compensation to Thomas P. Nerney, CEO of its United States Liability Insurance Group; $12.4 million to Geico Corp. CEO Tony Nicely and the National Indemnity Co. unit gave $9.26 million to Ajit Jain, according to filings to state regulators. Berkshire, which is set to send its annual-meeting notice to shareholders today, said in last year’s proxy that Buffett’s salary remains $100,000 at his request.
For comparison, here is a list of the highest earning athletes in 2011, broken out by salary and endorsements.

Highest Paid US Athletes

Not a single one of Buffet's execs would have made the top athletes list even though GEICO did $15B in revenue in 2011.  The LA Lakers, which paid a $25m salary to Kobe Bryant did about $215m total in revenue.  In other words, Thomas Nerney gets paid 2/3 as much as Kobe Bryant to run an organization about 70x larger than the one that Kobe is an employee of.

Nerney obviously isn't the highest paid CEO in America--below is that list based on total comp.  Below that is the list if you just included salary.  Compare the base salary list to the salary of pro athletes and CEO pay doesn't look so bad.

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