CHICAGO -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn urged the chairmen and executive directors of Illinois’ three largest public pension funds to support shareholder resolutions to rein in extravagant CEO pay practices at major American corporations, including Cendant, MetLife and International Paper.
Joining Quinn was William Atwood, Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Investment and Daniel Steininger, chairman of the Catholic Funds, a mutual fund that has proposed a shareholders’ resolution to limit CEO pay to a figure that is no more than 100 times that of the average worker.
The three largest statewide public pension funds are the Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI), the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and the State Universities Retirement System (SURS).
“Illinois taxpayers and state employees who are the beneficiaries of our pension funds want the trustees to vote their corporate shares in the best interest of the beneficiaries and shareholders,” Quinn said. “Too many corporate executives in recent years have been feathering their own nests at the expense of shareholders, including Illinois public pension fund beneficiaries.”
Cendant Corporation is an example of excessively overpaying its CEO, Henry Silverman. Last year, Silverman received a salary of $3.3 million, a bonus of almost $14 million and stock option gains worth $37 million. Cendant shareholders also contributed $1.025 million to Silverman’s pension plan and paid premiums of $4.574 million for a $100 million life insurance policy.
In addition, Silverman received lavish perks. These extras included lifetime medical and welfare benefits, office and clerical support, use of corporate aircraft, access to a corporate car and driver, security detail when traveling on business, reimbursement of business expenses and a lifetime post-retirement package that gives $83,000 per month for advice and services to Cendant.
The proposed resolution to Cendant shareholders says, “a huge CEO-to-worker pay gap not only degrades workers and company performance, but also violates the dignity and worth of every human being.”
As former State Treasurer, Quinn was a member of the State Board of Investment from 1991 to 1995.