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Money Minute: Is a CEO really worth $4 million a month? [Video]

March 20, 2012|By David Lazarus

The Occupy folk had a point when they focused on mile-high CEO pay. Take, for instance, the case of former Verizon Communications Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg.

According to an analysis by the Associated Press, Seidenberg earned $26.4 million in total compensation last year. That compares with the $18.1 million he earned in 2010 and the $17.5 million he received in 2009.

But what makes these numbers even more remarkable is the fact that Seidenberg stepped down from the CEO's job in August. In other words, he pulled down $26.4 million for seven months of work.

Put another way, Seidenberg made almost $4 million a month.

Let me say that again: The man was paid almost $4 million a month.

By comparison, his counterpart at AT&T, Randall Stephenson, earned just $18.7 million in 2011. And he worked the entire year, meaning that he had to scrape by on about $1.5 million monthly.

According to the latest figures from the AFL-CIO, chief executives at the nation's largest companies earn an average of $11.4 million in total pay. That's 343 times more than a typical American worker.

I'm sure it's hard running a big company. But does the boss really deserve 343 times what his workers are paid?

At the very least, couldn't he put in a full year's worth of effort like the rest of us?

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