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Receive low, cash out high

   At the top of the Business Today section of today's Buffalo News:
- Stocks, options might mean bonanzas for CEOs - Rachel Beck/AP/Buffalo News
   The nation’s top CEOs are set for a once-in-a-lifetime pay bonanza. Leaderboard
   Most of them got their annual stock compensation early last year when the stock market was at a 12-year low. And companies doled out more stock and options than usual because grants from the previous year had fallen so much in value that many people thought they never would be worth anything.
   But stock prices have surged ever since, giving CEOs enormous gains on paper
.
   [Video below.]

   We did our version of this a week ago:
- Salaries on the rise for area's top executives - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   The Great Recession didn’t mean the boss took a pay cut.
   While wages for the average worker in Erie County were virtually stagnant over the last year, the top executives at the publicly traded companies in the Buffalo Niagara region still managed to increase their overall median pay by an average of 6.6 percent, to more than $872,000 during 2009.
   While the deepest economic slump since the Great Depression had companies cutting costs, slashing jobs and imposing pay cuts and wage freezes on many workers, local CEOs capitalized on the sharp rebound in the stock market to keep their paydays growing far faster than the pay of their employees.
   Names and numbers here.

  Related:
- The Sky-high Club - James Surowiecki/The New Yorker
   For all the talk of restraining C.E.O. pay, most compensation committees remain what Warren Buffett once called them—“tail-wagging puppy dogs.”
-
Outrageous Executive Perks - Dan Fisher/Forbes
- Investors Start to Make Their Voices Heard on Pay  - Erin White/The Wall Street Journal
   Investor rebukes of executive-pay practices last week at Motorola Inc. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. mark a significant shift in the relationship between corporate boards and shareholders.
- How Much Is a CEO Worth? - Bloomberg BusinessWeek
   Graef Crystal, a pioneer in compensation consulting, analyzed the 2009 pay of 271 chief executive officers. His findings? "Simply put," Crystal says, "companies don't pay for performance." 
   Interesting graph here.
- Kroger CEO's pay falls 19 percent - Dan Sewell/AP/BusinessWeek
   The pay package that the nation's largest grocery chain, Kroger Co., gave its CEO, David B. Dillon, in 2009 plunged nearly 19 percent from the year before as competition for recession-squeezed shoppers cut profit and sales growth, according to figures in a Friday regulatory filing.
   [I only added this one because Dillion graduated from the same high school I did. Bad day for Salthawks.]

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
[Whose salary did not go down -- or up -- 19 percent last year.]

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