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Executive Pay Issue Stirs Up Anger

September 22, 2003

Re "Stock Market Chief Resigns in Pay Furor," Sept. 18: Richard Grasso's resignation as head of the New York Stock Exchange over the obscene compensation package awarded to him is a move in the right direction, but it is not enough. The board of directors should also resign en masse. They are the ones who set Grasso's compensation, yet many directors are now claiming they had no idea his compensation was so high. What kind of nonsense is this?

One of the major roles of any board of directors is to set executive compensation. If this claim is true, then the board is incompetent and unfit to represent shareholders. If it is false, then they are liars and unfit to represent shareholders. In either case, if any confidence is to be restored in the American stock markets, then the entire board of the New York Stock Exchange must go.

Anthony Ragan

Los Angeles

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OK, so Grasso is out. Now what about the rest of America's overpaid executives? Problem is, when executive pay is put to the shareholders as an issue, the executives themselves often own enough shares that they can outvote everyone else. Clearly a conflict of interest. Certain levels of executives should be prohibited from voting on matters that directly affect them.

Robert Scott

Los Angeles

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Who would have paid for Grasso's planned $140-million "compensation" package, and why, since the stock market has been in the doldrums for the last three years?

As a teacher it is a very difficult task for me to teach our young people about good character habits when we are constantly reminded of our business leaders' lack of good character. Remember Enron and WorldCom and how their leaders received grotesquely lucrative "compensation" packages while their workers lost their life savings.

Doesn't anyone among these executives realize that it will not matter how rich they are if the working middle class collapses under the weight of corporate greed?

Nero's fiddle is not too far from being a reality.

Jon Nelson

Panorama City

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