November 19th, 2008
04:29 PM GMT
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LONDON, England - In the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas preaches "greed is good." Well, we know what can happen when greed goes amok.

We're living in the aftermath of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. And it's not over yet, there's more pain to come.

A lot of blame is being pointed at CEOs and bankers who helped sink us into this rat hole, and rightfully so. Now in an act of contrition, the fat cats who have made enough money to last a thousand lifetimes, are foregoing bonuses, saying it's the right thing to do.

Who are they kidding? Of course it's the right thing to do, but to call it an act of altruism would be disingenuous.

They are doing it because they know there is plenty of anger at the mess they have gotten us into and it's their way of trying to placate the public and politicians who have their sights on them. They know more oversight is coming, and they are sensitive to the political winds howling at their backs.

What is clear is the investment banking model as we know it is dead and profits will be harder to come by. Bonuses will be smaller in the future if one is still lucky enough to have a job. And most importantly, the criteria for the bonus model is changing.

UBS, one of the banks hardest hit by the credit crisis, is making important changes to how its top management gets paid. The idea is to put more emphasis on long term performance.

"As of 2009, UBS will introduce a new compensation model. Top management may receive variable cash compensation and variable equity compensation in addition to their fixed pay. A large portion of this variable compensation will be held in reserve and paid out only if the results of UBS warrant it. Otherwise, there will be neither variable cash nor equity compensation. This should bring about a cultural shift in the company. Those who are rewarded will be those who deliver good results over several years without assuming unnecessarily high risk."

In explaining why they adopted a new compensation model, UBS stated that they felt the old model was too aligned with short-term results, without consideration for the quality or sustainability of the bank's performance, and that it did not sufficiently take into account the risks assumed.

UBS predicts their bonus plan will be followed by other banks. "I'm convinced this is essential, and the entire financial services industry will have to adjust its compensation models to the new realities," UBS's chairman was quoted as saying.

It's too late to make those responsible for this current financial mess give back their bonuses. But if the UBS model becomes the industry standard, then there might be more sobriety in banks' risk taking in the future. At the same time, shareholders have to be less focused on short-term profits which also added to the casino mentality.

The acid test will come when times get better again. We can hope lessons will have been learned, making bankers more accountable, with bonuses tied to long-term performance not just illusory short-term gains.

Tell me what you think. How should bonuses be determined?
Should there be a limit on how much they make?



soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. David Poland

    Instead of giving 25 billion to the auto industry I think the government should by 1 million compact cars from the big three. Give the cars to single parent Americans that are in need. The cost would be less (around 15 billion), auto workers would contiue to work, the economy would be helped. Giving 25 billion to a bunch of incompetent CEO's only helps the CEO's.

    November 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  2. d. griffith

    I think tying bonuses to long-term performance and a limit on how much can be made is a good plan. This will bring about quality professionals. It's not how much a business can pay you. It's what you can do for the business.

    November 19, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Wout

    We've seen that bonus for the ceo's themselves is a corrupting force. Instead let the bonus go to all employees instead, not to the ceo's.

    November 19, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  4. Biff Barf

    An excellent articlle. No Gordo "GREED IS NOT GOOD" For one individual to receive thousands or millions of $$$$ in bonuses/compensation, is plain "NOT RIGHT". Workers should be rewarded for exceptional performance, but hey dude THERE MUST BE LIMITS

    November 19, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  5. Chris A. Cline

    Yes, limits. There is a point where greed and selfisness becomes a mental cancer and money loses real value, becoming only a way of tracking the disease.

    November 19, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  6. earle,florida

    Let's start by the CEO's/BOD's masquerading delusionally about as the," sole owners", of these publicly owned/traded companies. Kinda reminds me of the SS under the 3rd Reich Nazi Germany,(infalible arrogance,to the Nth Degree) and we all know how that story ended. But,seriously, why not follow the Japanese model of executive compensation?

    November 19, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  7. Darwin

    It's getting a little tedious; what do bankers bonuses have to do with anything? No matter what website I visit, it's the same ol' tosh, and I hasten to add it smacks of jealousy.

    If a banker gets a million bonus it's probably due to the fact that he/she has earned a hundred million for his boss.

    What we all, conveniently, ignore when disscussing the current economic mayhem is the fact that the economy revolves around consumer behaviour – all those derivatives and mortgage backed securities etc were created in good faith and based on the idea that all those consumers who took on a loan or a mortgage would pay it back. It seems then that the financial industry put too much faith in the promise made by the borrower.

    Please tell me which is the worst of the two evils – greed to succeed or wreckless borrowing. If we take the current situation into hand it would have to be the latter. Is it not the default rate of wreckless borrowers that started this whole fiasco?

    Let's not worry too much about how much someone earns or doesn't – it really bears no relation to any final figures on GDP. What we should hope for is that lessons will be learn't, i.e, people actually sitting down with a calculator and working out what size credit they can afford to pay back without having to sell their children. That rule also applies to all those silly US banks that lent on a word rather than documented proof.

    If you want to talk about limits, why don't we start off by asking how much should a soft drinks manufacturer charge for a 330ml can of carbonated water and sugar? Perhaps the public would be a richer enviroment were it not for those clever multi billion pound advertising campaigns.

    November 19, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  8. dermot mckinney

    what is with bobuses anyway? why do they need bonuses you get paid by your employer to do a job in the most efficient and effective way possible so you should not need, want or get bonuses

    November 19, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  9. Harpa

    Yes. I think there should be cap on bonuses. There is no way a CEO is worth 500x more than the worker, the person who actually does the work. That money should go to paying for healthcare, education and fixing people's teeth. It's high time the UBS model (or one like it) gets implemented. Now, let's talk about making military service mandatory. That should aid an equality mentality to our citizens.:)

    November 19, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  10. Carol Burgess

    You have got to be kidding! These guys have been legally stealing from companies for years and things have only just come to a climax where enough people are mad about this. People are losing their houses, savings and heaven knows what else. There is no one on earth who deserves millions of dollars for doing what they do. The rest of us get crumbs and we are no supposed to be upset. From now on, no one gets the golden parachut, they can learn to fend for themselves like the rest of us. (When I say no one is worth millions, I mean no one; including musicians, sports people and anyone else)

    November 19, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  11. SouthernYankee

    Bonuses should be based on the person's salary, to a maximum cap.

    Why does a guy who's making $500K/yr need a bonus? I think the guy who's making $35k/yr needs a bonus far more than the people at the top.

    November 19, 2008 at 7:56 pm |
  12. Nancy K.

    Don't think these CEO's are the backbone of America!!!! If you do, then all the rest is of little use. I do believe that people who work hard should be compensated but not necessarily in the form of money. There are other ways of saying "thank you" to an employee who is doing their job. Maybe a plaque!!!!!! You can get them at Wal-Mart and two company powerhouses benefit. Since when does basking in the south of France a part of a CEO's job description.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  13. Frank

    First let me tell you that I am certainly not a left winger. Having said this, I say, as a business owner, that it is 100% okay to get more grip on these fat cats and to cut their income. A fixed income should do, away with the bonus! Also; a manager should never be allowed having any shares, stocks or bonds. Why would they be interested in that....just to make things look good on the short term and to cash in the big money.
    It is in the interest of the customer, the country and the economy to come up with new regulations, the rules of the game need to be changed.
    Why would a manager (that's what they are, nothing special!) make so @#$% much money? What is their risk, being not the business owner -but just a nanny looking after another ones property!

    November 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  14. Ryan in OR

    The problem is that not all banks are equal. Many banks were heavy into subprime while other banks (BofA for one) avoided the risk because they knew from the start that it would cause problems. The execs that are making dumb decidions should pay, i totally agree. but the smart execs who make the right decision should be rewarded. they are in a position of power, which can and often does corrupt. those who can stay away from the corruption and make good choices should be rewarded.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  15. Banker1

    Darwin,

    I couldn't agree with you more. Obviously the people complaining have no clue what the world of banking is like. Granted, banking is a career that one chooses, but you also give up a HUGE portion of your life, so naturally you are compensated for it. Also, as Darwin stated, if you are contributing to the bottom line, as in bringing in multi billion dollar deals for your company, you SHOULD get a percentage! The same goes for car salesmen or financial advisors, you get a percentage of what you make for the company, it's simple. Also, the base salaries AREN'T excessively high. A lot of compensation is paid out in company stock which at this point isn't looking too great. For all of you complainers, how about you try working back to back 20 hour days with the stress of getting deals done and making an influential impact to the bottom line, all while staying constantly tied to your Blackberry, then come back and tell me how much bankers SHOULD be paid. The moral to the story is this...the Investment Banking industry is a fast-paced, extremely competitive industry filled with intelligent people. In order to remain competitive you have to constantly win business. In order to constantly win business, you have to constantly be working. Trust me, there is ALWAYS someone out there who is more willing than you are. So, In order to attract and retain the brightest most competitive and most hardworking, the company has to pay them as such or else....another company will. The slave days are over, no one is giving up their life for free...

    November 19, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  16. IDI NGENDA

    HELLO, LOOK ITS TO MUCH MONEY THOSE CEOS MAKE OUT OF MY ENERGY, I DONT BEILIVE THAT IS JUST MORTGAGE HAS CAUSE ALL THIS, I DONT THINK IT FEAR TO CHARGE ME UP TO 36% INTEREST WHEN YOU GIVE ME YOUR MONEY, AND WHEN I GIVE MY MONEY TO THE BANK I GET 0.1% INTEREST BACK AND WE ALL HAVE BAD CREDIT ACCORDING TO A CREDIT BUREAUX. HELP ME OUT HERE???, I THINK WE ALL GOING TO BE OKEY SOME DAY, BUT IF YOU WANNA TO BULD A CONSUMER CONFIDENT JUST PLAY NICE DONT CUT MY THROUGH

    November 19, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  17. Claude

    Bonuses should not exist. Point.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  18. Jonathan Eden

    Regardless of how bonuses are determined, incompetent or irresponsible CEOs, especially those entrusted with public responsabilities, such as money management should be bared from high CEO positions for prolonged periods, much as in many countries corrupt politicians are barred from holding political office.

    November 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  19. Claes Andersson

    Darwin much of what you say is sound: there is a tendency to go for the most visible of problems rather than the real problems. In politics, arguments must be simple enough to fit into one short sentence, and that's a terrible constraint.

    But there is a problem with your first line of reasoning and it can be understood perfectly in terms of economics.

    In what sense did the guy make his company $100M? Obviously, that money was nowhere to be found when it was needed... it was all tied into horrendously complex bonds and other exotic instruments. All worthless, or very nearly so. His $1M in compensation, however, sits there in a bank account – at least in many cases.

    The problem is that the risk element is gone from the compensation: it's cold hard cash. The result is that when everybody's losing their homes and jobs and savings in the stock market.... Those $1M he got for earning "$100M" are still very much around. It's a money ratchet.

    I can't see how a capitalist with any degree of integrity would like this! You have people exposing money to risk, receiving compensation without risk... That's not capitalism and look what it just did to capitalism. No use to play it down, if you would claim a year ago that Lehman Brothers would be gone in a year they would laugh and call you ignorant and socialist and so on.

    November 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  20. Carlos Soares

    Bonuses:

    A share of marginal profit...would be so much simpler.

    And an ethical control of what profit is and how it is obtained would not be a bad thing...

    How about getting paid for cutting back jobs: instant profit booster, for many, would not do the trick though.

    November 19, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  21. martin

    Sorry,
    you are missing, or deliberately avoiding the real questions:
    1. Why do we need money as debt ?
    2. Why charging interest on it at all ?
    3. Why is everybody, incl. institutions, government and businesses all in debt, when they are producing the goods and services we want ?
    4. Why stick with a dysfunctional monetary system, when we know that no less than 3 more planets are required to obey this diabolical instrument ?

    We people invented money – now its time we, the people change it to make it work for society, without the need for profit at the expense of someone else, without enslaving the 3rd world, without the need for wars !
    martin

    November 19, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  22. Ron

    There is not a job in this country that should be paying a million dollars a year. We've got special military forces in this Nation who literally risk their lives each time they go to work for us, and believe me they are not getting a million dollar salary! I find it very errogant that CEO's, sports figures, and entertainment figures feel that they have a value for what they do that far exceeds a person risking their life. The greed for money and an extravagant lifestyle that far exceeds the idea of the American Dream is one of the reasons that the bulk of American's never experience even a minor portion of the American Dream regardless of how hard they work their entire lives, which generally ends in a retirement into poverty. As an American worker, I've been told more than once that the company I was working for didn't have any money in the budget to even give a 25 cent raise while management made bonuses by cutting costs at the expense of the rest of the company's employees. Barack Obama was right in his statement that there needed to be a great distribution of the Nation's earned wealth throughout a Nations entire society to have a healthy economy. What President Obama didn't say was that the wealthy had to be distributed equally thoughout a society as the socialist or communistic views lean towards. Wages being paid have to be brought more in line somehow, which means you can't have the bulk of a Nation's earned wealth in the hands of a few, but shared in the hands of all who helped to earn the wealth.

    November 19, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  23. Andreas

    I must agree with Darwin above. All this anger smacks of jealousy. Investment bankers would not be paid these salaries unless they had produced for their companies, and thus the owners. In "bad" years bonuses tend to be quite low. There is no need for regulation to achieve that.

    My prediction is that we will see a lot of window dressing for public consumption, and then a return to normal as the economy recovers.

    Investment bankers work very hard and their job is not easy. It is only fair to pay them for their performance. If it were easy being a banker everyone would be doing it.

    Of course, some people have been irresponsible, fudging results and taking excessive risks. But it is wrong to think that all investment bankers are criminals. Most work very hard in an honest fashion.

    "Why would a manager (that’s what they are, nothing special!) make so @#$% much money? "

    Because good management is an elusive skill. Not a lot of people have it in them. If it were easy companies would not be willing to pay so much for it.

    November 19, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  24. Bill

    No-one and I repeat, No-one is worth over a million dollars in any job, or for any feat or skill or acumen, especially in the current situation. Americans have always been said to favor entrepenurial exploits and the rags to riches story, but really, we all think that there is a point where excess is more like Caligula than Horatio Alger...

    November 19, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  25. Leroy

    It is my observation that every economic crisis (which generally speaking is a human created famine but instead of there not being enough stuff there isn't enough of the abstraction of money) is basically caused when the disparity between the top wealthy and bottom poor becomes too great – no matter whatever the officials blame it on. This fact is acknowledged by the so called stimulus checks ( which were to small to make a difference) and the encouragment of banks to make loans (the haves loaning to the have nots so they can buy the things that the haves posess at an interest to stimulate the economy) Bonuses for CEO's should be capped. Why bailouts for the haves?

    November 19, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  26. Mike G.

    The problem with the bonuses is that they're tied to short term profit. Lend money today, things look good, receive huge bonus. Years later the mortgage or security starts going bad and the company is in trouble, the taxpayers are on the hook and there's no good way to retroactively adjust the bonus that was paid out years before.

    That lack of ability to track long term success before its too late is the best reason to pull back on bonuses. The bonus should be distributed among shareholders who are the real long term owners of the business who ultimately will pay when things go wrong in terms of loss of value of the shares they hold. If the CEO is a shareholder then he will automatically get as much or as little bonus as anyone else based on the performance of the company.

    November 20, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  27. Philip

    I like the model whereby the highest paid employee in an organization can be paid no more than some number of times what the lowest paid worker makes. That multiplier could be in the 20 – 30 range. If the top dog wants to be paid more (at the same company) he must raise the pay of the lowest paid.

    November 20, 2008 at 12:51 am |
  28. RT

    Bonuses??? For doing their job??? They're already getting a salary! Perhaps if there WEREN"T bonuses they wouldn't be in this mess! A bonus should be a surprise, unexpected for a job over and above. How many worker bee's get bonuses? Not any that I know. We only hope for an annual increase.
    Please don't use the "we have to retain the best" line – isn't that we already had on Wall Street? Well, look where that got us!
    NO ONE should be getting a bonus at any financial institution until the taxpayers are repaid all the money we've given them.
    I suggest we go in reverse – start with a good SALARY. If you don't perform we start reducing your salary, take away your pensions, take away your health insurance... oh wait, that's what they do to the worker bee's! Ok, we'll let you, the executive go, with a small severance package – 1 week's salary for every year you've been here. But then, you'll have to go on unemployment!

    November 20, 2008 at 1:37 am |
  29. FRANS

    ER VINDEN NU VEEL INGEWIKKELDERE PROCESSEN PLAATS ZOALS HET SNEEUWBAL EFFECT WAT NU LANGZAAM OPGANG KOMT. ALS DIE WALS DADELIJK ZIJN HOOGTE PUNT BERIJKT ZIJN ER VEEL MEER SLACHTOFFERS GEVALLEN DAN DIE TIEN PROCENT VAN DE AUTO INDUSTRIE. MOOI IS HET TE VERDUIDELIJKEN MET OPNAMEN VAN DIE DOMINOSTEEN DIE MEERDER DOMINOLIJNEN IN BEWEGING ZET. EEN LAWINE IS OOK EEN OPTIE DIE EEN EN ANDER KAN VERDUIDELIJKEN.
    GROETJES FRANS

    November 20, 2008 at 2:39 am |
  30. Greg Atkinson

    Good to see the politicians have got the media to look the other way. The fundamental reasons we are in this mess is due to poor oversight by U.S law makers, errors made by central bankers and the poor savings habits of many of us in the developed world.

    I have no idea why we should be focused on executives salaries or bonuses when we seem to be okay with sports and movies stars earning a small fortune...maybe they should give some of their money back when they perform badly?

    Greg Atkinson
    http://www.shareswatch.com.au/blog

    November 20, 2008 at 6:27 am |
  31. Felix Esquivel

    Bonuses should be given to those who live most frugally and virtuously.

    Reward those who put other peoples best interests ahead of their own personal interests.

    Acclaim those who live by example, and create win-win partnerships for suppliers, manufacturers, customers, and the environment.

    November 20, 2008 at 7:12 am |
  32. Gary Evans

    No bonuses for anyone in any industry that is getting government money UNLESS and UNTIL these businesses return to prifitability as an enterprise!

    When I worked for a fortune 500 company a few years back they had a bad year and NO bonuses were given to anyone, including the CEO!
    Stock options WERE given but they soon proved to be worth less than the option price, LOL!

    November 20, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  33. jeff

    what I cant understand is why these CEOs and their Board members i.e. AIG, Lehmann, Bear Sterns etc arent in jail for running public companies into bankruptcy ? Especially when they have been caught declaring hideous amount of bonuses ?
    (not to mention drawing ridiculous salaries ! )

    I believe that alot of politician's private funds are placed in these companies which is why they didnt hesitate to release tax payers money to bail them out and have not done anything to indict these CEO's/Board.

    poor poor taxpayers !!!!!

    November 20, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  34. Rose

    The CEO can take a million from there 9 figure salary and give bonus to the staff. They may be the head but it is the hard working individuals who made it happen and they should appreciate and understand that.

    Some of those hard working workers can't afford the dinner or trips the big time CEOs, VP and directors can

    They not be educated but they are making them look good

    November 20, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  35. Julie Kenyon

    There is to be no compensation, period, now or in the future, for any auto executive.

    The American people, through their elected officials, will appoint a transitional team, to guide the big three though this crisis.

    We own it, The American Auto Industry.

    Not three separate companies.

    The stock belongs to us, the American people.

    Our first order of business: Cost-cutting starts at the top. We begin with auctioning off the trappings of imperial power and privilege.

    If the item isn't readily available to the hourly line worker...it is auctioned off.

    Existing stockholders had the ability to change the course of the company at every annual stockholders meeting...they failed to monitor and direct the company they invested in.

    Thanks, for the lesson. We won't make the same mistake.

    Next, the financial institutions.

    November 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  36. Phil Gatchell

    The workers are the ones that deserve the bonuses if any are paid. The CEOs sit on their butt, drawing dream salaries and tearing up the companies with their extra bonuses, and then scream at the US Congress and House for loans to further their salaries and bonuses. Get rid of the CEOs and the companies would never have to worry about salaries of the employees as there would be big money available for bonuses to the workers.

    November 20, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  37. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    What about merit-based salaries, with no bonuses, perqs, freebies, extras, frills, fluff, or folderols?

    I saw an interview with the CEO of Japan Air Lines (on 'Talk Asia'). He had to lay some workers off. So he cut his own (and all executive and management) salaries to be NO MORE than what their highest-paid employees make. He eats in the cafeteria, with everyone from machinists to cleaners. He doesn't live in staggering style, but then, he never did. The pay-cut he took was not huge.

    He was ASTONISHED by the sort of money exectutives make in the USA.

    I say nobody – NOBODY, no Baseball Pitcher, no Rock Star, no CEO, no Golf Champion (those prizes make me sick, on the golf and tennis circuits) - makes more than the President. He makes what? $400,000 a year? That's PLENTY.

    I am sick to death of rich people gouging the System, leaving Disabled people like me to wonder whether there will be money for a Cost-of-Living increase next year.

    I grew up rich. I didn't know it, at the time. I didn't grow up silly-rich, like some of the people I went to school with, whose Dads owned the real-estate on which all the hotels are built, on Maui...

    Everyone could grow up with what I had. It's not impossible. It would involve considerable 'redistribution of wealth'. If I never see another 22 year old throwing a tantrum, because his $10million contract isn't enough, it will be too soon. NFL players are a bunch of brats.

    So are all those wretched, bonused, gift-showered, CEOs.

    What happened to the 'Protestant Work Ethic'?

    Oh, and offshore accounts... make 'em illegal.

    November 21, 2008 at 3:57 am |
  38. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    @ Darwin

    It's nice that your spelling is as bad as your ideas. That is a source of comfort.

    As for billions of pounds of advertising, the entire advertising industry is the deformed bastard child of capitalism (read:'greed') preying upon human insecurity. Those are three of the least attractive traits of the human species: greed, predation, and insecurity (and/or conformity)

    When I'm watchin' my TV
    and a man comes on to tell me
    how white my shirts can be.
    Well he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
    the same cigarettes as me.

    -'I Can't Get No Satistisfaction', Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

    November 21, 2008 at 4:18 am |
  39. productevo

    It is high time for companies of all walks of life to design better compensation schemes. There is a common say that sales people are "coin operated". The analogy applies not just to sales, but to any position with a variable compensation that is dependent on a specific outcome. And in the recent years, golden parachutes, equity grants and other bonuses made it quite feasible for executives to cash out before a crash, or even get paid hefty sums when the company goes down. To that extent, the article seems to hint at UBS making the right move. We've advocated for a long time a simple concept: variable compensation should be tied to results: http://www.productevo.com/resource-center/best-practices/pay-for-performance/, and sure hope the recent events will bring more transparency to the process.

    Nick

    November 21, 2008 at 9:15 am |
  40. John Simpson

    I really believe that bonuses should be carefully regulated.

    November 21, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  41. josefina

    Limits!!!!. Of course. The modus operandi in the bank industry has to change, no more easy money at expenses of the public. I think the model presented for the USB bank is a good idea. Based on results the executives should be paid, if they get good results and profits to the company OK give them a bonus, in other way kick their ass. Sorry but I am fed up with this CEO, CFO that they believe they are God and at the end they are only dishonest people, trying to make money easy and fast without any respect for the consumers, for the investors, shareholders, they only care about their own bank account. If the company fails it is not their fault, and they leave the company with millions of dollars and leave a mess behind them. They should be penalized in some way

    November 21, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  42. Rod

    Bonuses should be profit or no profit driven and shared equally throughout the enterprise. This creates an environment of stakeholder equity, all working with the same thing in mind. If my company does well, I get to keep working and there will be a fair share for me at bonus time. A bonus that's 500 times or even 10 times, the average worker's wage is company waste, just like so many CEOs. It's enertaining to see major CEOs, when pressured, don't have clue. They're no smarter than a local small businessman and in a lot of ways, the small businessman would get it right more times than they would. Normal small businessmen operate on survival instincts. Failure is not an option for most. As for the heads of the institutions that brought us this disaster, I hope to see you sociopaths selling papers and magazines on the street someday.

    November 25, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  43. Yogesh Tisgaonkar

    Bonuses should be given but at the same time these greedy CEO's should be made aware of the fact if an organization fails because of lack of their leadership then these should be taken out and distributed among the workers who are going to loose jobs. Ultimately their has to be a cap on the salary limits of a CEO, in current economy it's the pay package that attracts an CEO and not because of the passion.

    After all CEO - (CUSTOMER-EMPLOYEES-ORGANIZATION) which sounds wrong isn't ?

    November 25, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  44. AKINNIYI SUNDAY

    The regulators and the government should be more actively involved and be more transparent in the monitoring and controlling the activities of the so called CEOs.

    Any CEO found to have contributet to the collapse of any intitution should not only be sent to life jail , all his personal assets should be confiscated by the government. Non should go unpunished. Bonus should be regulated and made payable minimum of two years after the financial year to which it relates.

    November 30, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  45. sam

    Bonuses are a drop in the sea. Purely symbolic. Irrelevant. Think about the big picture.

    December 1, 2008 at 8:10 am |
  46. Phil

    Bonuses are destroying America the greedy CEOs are not rich enough. Stop sponsoring the sports groups – eliminate these high polluten salaries – save big money and they won't have these finance problems. If the gate income is insufficient to pay the salaries of the players, they need a change in operation. AS long as these big companies continue to sponsor these so called "stars", big companies will suffer. After paying them 10 million, they fall and are traded.
    Cut all CEOs salaries to $5000.00 and watch them run – same with Managers with plush salaries. They are way over the normal run-of-the-mill working salaries.
    Wake up America – SHAME, SHAME ON YOU... no wonder the world is losing its patience with you.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  47. Jeremy

    I think that bonuses should be paid to those that show commitment to the company as far as years of service and dedication and what changes (for the better) that you have brought to the company. I dont think that just because you are higher up in authority or rank than most mean you get a bigger bonus...no....most of those guys are dirtbags. They wouldnt know what work was if it meant life or death!

    December 1, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  48. Stephen

    Bonuses? You must be joking! When people are being layoff left and right?

    How about asking these "genius" & "captains of the industries" to first RETURN the bonuses, benefits, perks they received in the past years when they were busily hurting the system and planting the seeds of financial breakdown?

    How about the stockholders start to layoff those on top starting from the chairperson down to all the executives who have enjoy perks and spoilage?

    It might be asking too much and expecting too much from congress and the so called "regulatory authorities" coz either they are either receiving big contributions or sleeping with the enemy for after their term and tenure they can get jobs from these institutions they are suppose to regulate.

    Where will the change come from?

    Its about time those on top pay back and not firing employees who didn't have a say in policy making.

    December 2, 2008 at 2:06 am |
  49. Cathy H

    You need to do some checking on what the states of Alabama and Kentucky are doing for the foreign auto makers in their states, it's no wonder those two Senators are pushing so hard to destroy the us auto makers.

    December 12, 2008 at 12:04 am |

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