Executive Pay Out of Control

Let me get this straight:

A business unit loses $40.5 billion in one year, causing the company to nearly collapse, and jeopardizing the world economies.  The government provides up to $173 billion in public funds to bailout the company.  And key company employees are getting about $450 million in bonus payments.

The company claims the bonuses are “retention” payments, even though 11 of the employees receiving $1 million or more each are no longer with the company.

  • Does this make any sense to anyone?
  • What would these employees get in a good year?
  • Why retain the very people who caused this mess?
  • Did the government do any due diligence before throwing an enormous amount of public funds at the problem?
  • Who designed this bonus program?
  • Who approved this bonus program?

It gives “pay for performance” a whole new meaning.

Innovation during recession?

Hewlett Packard was launched (from the famous garage) in the middle of the Great Depression.  So was Sentry Safes.  It’s when Birds Eye took frozen food to market for the first time, and Fortune Magazine began.  Television, nylon, fiberglass, and synthetic rubber were all introduced then.

After World War II, and during a severe economic crisis in Japan, Toyota figured out how to fund car manufacturing by minimizing the cash tied-up in inventory.  The Toyota Production System led to the quality movement and lean manufacturing.

During the 1990-1991 recession, Michael Dell perfected his demand-pull production system, Intel launched their “Intel Inside” campaign, and Kodak was at work on the first digital camera for consumers.  It’s also when we first saw dial-up internet access, the first internet browser, and DVDs.

In 2001, Apple launched the first iPod.  Steve Jobs said they increased their investment in innovation at that time, and they’re doing the same in this recession.

What’s your excuse for holding back on innovation today?