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A Look at the Top Pay for Top Executives : Business: The San Gabriel Valley's most highly compensated managers come primarily from the engineering and industry fields, a Times survey shows.


An office supply company, a giant electric utility, a supermarket chain and an old-line construction engineering firm paid their executives more last year than any other publicly owned businesses with headquarters in the San Gabriel Valley, a Times survey shows.

A compilation of executive pay for the San Gabriel Valley--based on reports from publicly owned companies, which must reveal to shareholders the pay of top officers--also shows that the San Gabriel Valley has not shifted to service industries like much of the county. The 25 highest-paid corporate officials in the area come, instead, mostly from the fields of engineering and industry.

Experts say those companies are attracted by commercial real estate that is still affordable, a stable labor pool and expensive suburbs such as Arcadia and San Marino, where executives like to live.

The salaries of privately owned businesses, professionals, educators, government employees and large companies with local branches that have their corporate headquarters elsewhere are not reported in the rankings. Additionally, the rankings are based on where executives work, not where they live.

According to the figures, Charles D. Miller, chief executive of Avery Dennison Corp., is the San Gabriel Valley's highest-paid executive. He made more than $1.6 million in 1990. That included $950,000 in cash payments and $711,706 in stock options.

The Pasadena-based manufacturer of office supplies is the product of a merger last fall between a local firm, Avery International, and Dennison Manufacturing of Massachusetts. Executives said after last year's merger that they hoped Avery Dennison, which has 18,200 employees, eventually could become the world's largest supplier of office supplies.

Other Avery executives are compensated handsomely to pursue that goal, the survey shows. Miller is just one of five company administrators whose salaries rank among the top 25 in the San Gabriel Valley. For instance, corporation President Philip M. Neal ranked 12th in the region, with an annual compensation totaling $549,774, while Donald D. Belcher, senior group vice president, made $460,682 to rank 14th.

Second on the region's list of top salaries is retired Southern California Edison chief executive Howard P. Allen. He earned more than $1 million in salary and other compensation in 1990, retiring in October from his executive position to become a consultant to Edison.

The Rosemead-based electric company, which serves 4 million customers in Southern and Central California, has four other executives on the list of the top 25 salaries. Current chief executive officer John E. Bryson ranked ninth, with pay of $608,528, and executive vice president David J. Fogarty, who retired at the end of 1990, made $582,652 to rank 10th.

Arcadia-based Vons supermarkets has two at the top of the region's pay scale. Chief executive Roger E. Strangeland made $984,440 in 1990 to place third on the list, just one position and a little more than $1,000 ahead of Vons chief operating officer Dennis K. Eck.

The San Gabriel Valley's other powerhouse for top executive salaries is Jacobs Engineering, which has made its home in Pasadena for more than 40 years. Founder Joseph J. Jacobs, with total compensation of $648,550 a year, ranked seventh on the list. Four other officials at the firm also made the top 25.

The company's roots were in the design and construction of equipment for mining and minerals processing. But the firm, which employs 4,500 people, has shifted recently toward the emerging field of environmental cleanup, said company spokesman Ron Lovecchio.

Jacobs' Pasadena home puts it in the middle of a strong engineering and technical regional economy.

"With Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Lab here, there has become sort of a critical mass of engineering firms in this area," said Blaine Fetter, president of the San Gabriel Valley Cities and Commerce Consortium. "There is a great labor pool here for that sort of work. . . . It's not unlike the Silicon Valley and its relation to Stanford."

The Commerce Consortium promotes business in the San Gabriel Valley.

San Gabriel Valley's Highest-Paid Executives

The following is a list of the highest-paid executives of publicly owned companies headquartered in the San Gabriel Valley. It is taken from The Times' annual executive compensation survey of California's largest companies. The information was derived from proxy statements and annual reports of more than 500 publicly held California companies.

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