The Rewards of Mediocrity

Let's say you're a sales person who's been slacking off -- your sales are down by a third this year, and you've brought in 15 percent less profit for your company. Now let's say that you go to the boss and demand a 150 percent pay hike. How long do you think it would take your boss to stop laughing... and then fire you for being both a slacker and a silly person.

But you're not David F. D'Alessandro. He's no ordinary employee of the John Hancock corporation -- he's the CEO, and as we know, the rules are different for those at the top. So, yes, while he had a bad year in 2002 -- with John Hancock's stock prices plummeting by a third and its profits dropping 15 percent -- Dave still got a payhike of more than 150 percent, jumping his take-home to nearly $22 million. That's a good two-and-a-half times the CEO pay of such competitors as MetLife and Prudential, where his peers had to make do on about $8 million each.

D'Alessandro, who apparently is fueled by the fumes of his own ego, dismisses all criticism about his outlandish pay for poor performance: "I don't determine how much I make," he says, asserting that the board of directors determines that. Do we look like a bunch of all-day suckers? Come on, Dave -- corporate boards are notorious brother-in-law deals, made up of golfing buddies and other CEOs who're part of the orchestrated bunny hop, happily raising each other's pay.

But, the John Hancock board member who okayed D'Alessandro's bonanza claims that it was necessary because other corporations might lure Dave away, adding that he's "a real major-league talent." But I wonder -- how much demand is there in CorporateWorld for an overpaid CEO who drove his company into the finacial ditch?

CEOs continue to fatten their own wallets while shareholders and employees are knocked down. That's not good management... it's incompetence and shameful greed.

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