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Shareholder Proposal to AT&T Shareholders Meeting 2019-10-10 16:22:51

Shareholder Proposal to Improve Guiding Principles of Executive Compensation

 

Resolved: shareholders recommend that AT&T Inc. improve guiding principles of executive compensation.

 

Supporting Statement

Section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act directed the SEC to amend Item 402 of Regulation S-K to require each company to disclose the annual total compensation of the CEO, the median of the annual total compensation of all employees (except the CEO), and the ratio of these two amounts (CEO pay ratio).  According to AT&T 2019 Proxy Statement, the median of the annual total compensation of all employees (except the CEO) is $95,814, the annual total compensation of the CEO is $29,118,118, and the CEO pay ratio is 304:1 (p.78).  What is the justification of such a high ratio? Amazon’s CEO pay ratio is 58:1 in 2018.

Nationwide, “Median compensation for 132 chief executives of S&P 500 companies reached $12.4 million in 2018, up from $11.7 million for the same group in 2017, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.” (March 17, 2019).  “CEOs rake in 940% more than 40 years ago, while average workers earn 12% more” (CBSNEWS August 14, 2019).  America’s ballooning executive compensation is neither responsible for the society nor sustainable for the economy.

With 44,892 non-U.S. employees (p.78), AT&T is a global company, but there is not a foreign company in the peer group to assess market-based compensation for executive officers in 2018 (p.43). The executive compensation and CEO pay ratios of big Japanese and European companies are much less than one tenth of big American companies.

Reducing the CEO pay ratio should be included as a guiding principle of executive compensation. It is time for American executives as citizens to take the social responsibility on their own initiative rather than to be forced by the public. See ‘Passive Income’ to ‘Two Cents’: How Elizabeth Warren Honed Her Message, Wall Street Journal October 4, 2019.


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香港粤语的文字化困境 2019-10-03 21:40:46

20199月,我在香港、广东、广西和重庆探亲访友并沿途进行简略的人类学/社会语言学考察,注意并确认了中国南方(加上云南、贵州和部分四川地域)其实属于受上古印度影响的所谓东南亚高地Zomia/ㄗㄛㄇㄧㄚ前沿[1],正在进行着已经基本完成了的汉化进程,而尤以南方各种语言/方言的文字化困境显著地提示着这个汉化进程(的程度),也进一步证实改进汉语导入汉音元素--是唯一可以解决这个困境的方案。在“以汉音元素帮助创制少数民族文字的设想”[2]中加入“侗族语言的文字化”一节后,本文考虑香港粤语的文字化困境。

97日周六晚抵达香港机场。机场内访客稀松,没有遇到8月份来到机场的抗议者。我当晚乘7人座位的小巴(这个词来自香港粤语)直接从深圳离开香港进入中国,沿途也没有遇到任何抗议的迹象。923日周一下午,我再次从深圳乘列车进入香港西九龙站,在地下通道看到贴满两旁的各种抗议(以及少数反抗议)标语、传单。这里不是诉诸理性的地盘,不少内容充满政治性的对立和仇恨,其中还包含隐蔽的文化(讲粤语与非粤语者)的歧视(插图)。25日周三我离开香港,乘大巴(这个词也来自香港粤语)从尖沙咀开往机场,沿途通畅顺利,进入机场时被要求出示证明,这就是机场内见不到抗议者的原因。

我在九龙下榻旅馆附近的老旧建筑之间的夜间市场观察下层市民的生活(插图),与新兴深圳的欣欣向荣形成强烈的反差。香港的人均收入5万多美元,早已超过英国,但贫富差距(2016年gini指数就高达53.9)远超所有发达国家(英国2015年为33.2)。以房价为例,我看到实用200平方英尺的租金可以高达每月15000-17000港币,房价高达500万港币(因为抗议运动已经有所降低)。抗议运动的持久深入广泛,把最大的利益集团香港的土地开发商们也推到香港公众、中国内陆和国际社会的视野面前。各种矛盾的公开化,有助于防止权势各方黑箱造作的交易,多少防止了最糟糕事态的悲剧(如89年的天安门事件)。

24日周二我在维多利亚港周围的尖沙咀、中环、八一大楼、政府总部和立法会一带步行良久。除了立法会大楼周围的媒体车辆和记者,一切都平静如常(这一带禁止张贴标语)。我只身进入立法会的入口,询问参观的可能,被告知今天不对外开放。当我研究诸如西班牙内战[3]、俄罗斯革命的历史[4]时,很向往能够亲身到现场考核,现在置身于当代史事件的平静现场,加深了对香港局势的认知。

当日晚,我参加香港文化中心为公众举办的免费大型露天音乐对话和伦敦交响乐团表演(约5百听众)。除了慢慢地习惯港式粤语的发音,我也注意到三个音乐家对话中自然讲出的英语词汇为听众自然地接受,简易英语已经成为香港粤语的一个不可缺少的部分。作为舞台背景的海岸对面的霓虹灯火映照下的升平气氛,似乎驱散了政治抗议和经济不安的阴影。

很多人从不同角度、立场或个人生活经验、信息量多少关注目前的香港问题,多同意没有任何“解决”方案,这可能反而是理性能发挥作用的唯一期待。对于香港目前面临的政治、社会、经济等综合症,我虽然从自己研究过的巴黎Commune/自治体“公社”[5]Anarchism/安那祺主义运动[6]的历史自然地看出类似特征,并没有自己独特的见解,也没有精力像19932010年访问香港时会会见同志、朋友[7]。我更关注到粤语的文字化这个长期复杂的文化问题对讲港式粤语者和非粤语者的交流的阻碍。

粤语是一种声调语言,受五代十国时期人口南迁影响,保留了大量古汉语用词。如用“系”而不用“是”来正面答复,“走”则保留了古汉语中奔跑的意思(日语中也如此)。再看,“曲”字本身是Uighur/ㄨㄧㄍㄜㄦ语kuy/köy(音乐)的音译,唐代(和现在客家话)发音kiok,粵語发音kuk,闽南语发音giok,日语发音きょく/kyoku,都比现在的转自满族语的普通话(Mandarin/ㄇㄢㄉㄚㄌㄧㄣ/“满大人”)发音更接近原初的ㄨㄧㄍㄜㄦ语发音[8];这个例子还说明粤语、客家话、日语、古汉语等的单字不必是普通话单字中的单音节拼音,也就是说,拼音不是表示多音节字和词的合适手段。不过,粤语虽然也被称为“广东话”,但在广东、特别是广州,汉语普通话已经普及为第一语言,很难遇到粤语文化的气息,只能到岭南“圣域”祖庙(佛山)才能体会到武术、粤剧等粤语/岭南文化。我听了没戴脸谱的粤剧男女对唱,感觉与京剧类似。只有在香港,粤语是第一语言(90%),保持和发展出独特的港式粤语[9]

粤语讲者在正式场合里普遍使用二十世纪初兴起的白话文书写系统,其语法、词汇与现代标准普通话相符,与粤语自身的语法、词汇差别很大,文言脱离,只有“粤语白话文”,而没有正式的“粤文”。粤语白话文书写会用到大量粤语独有的粤语汉字,这些字在BIG5系统或使用简化中文的电脑字符系统中没有收录或收录不全。为解决粤语的电脑文字处理问题,香港政府制定了一个香港增补字符集,收录了常用的粤字和其他BIG5扩增汉字约5000字左右,如“啲”、“嘅”、“攞”、“揸”、“嘢”、“冚”等。在最新一版的增补字符集中,收录了一些所谓的“粗口字”。这套增补字元集基本上解决了粤语白话文的电脑处理问题,大部分粤语口语文句都可以录入电脑。但广东以外的地区的粤语讲者对粤语固有字词的了解近乎空白,倾向于使用北京话借音字书写粤语,造成书写混乱。[10]很显然,这些主要表示发音的粤语汉字应该用规范的汉音元素来表示,统一发音。

语气助词在粤语语句情貌的表达上有非常重要的作用,不可缺或。但其用法复杂,有单式、二覆叠式、三覆叠式和多覆叠式等形式,如:喇-表示完成或引起注意,嗱-提问,或引起注意,㖞-表示意识到,“原来如此”意味,啝-暗示否认某事物之结果或叙述之意味,囖-表示情况就是如此,啰-期待某事物之时机即将达至之语气,咩-表示怀疑,或轻微不屑,啩-表示不敢肯定自己的判断,啫-表示不屑语气,或表示“而已”的意思,㗎-第二声,表示抱怨语气,噜-表示完成语气,嘅啫-表示事情小,不必放在心想,㗎喳/嘅喳-同“而已”,可用单字“喳”,喳嘛-轻视、不屑意味,啦喂-提醒或积极回复意味,啰㖞-寻求最后确定,或表示已经不耐烦,啰噃-表示确认,或希望得到确认,嘞咩-表示强烈怀疑、不赞同,㗎喇-已经完成,或完全自信、确认,吖嗱-对其之前所作的行为表示不满,㗎啰噃-表示确认,或希望得到确认,㗎喇㖞-表示事情已经发生,且带有不满的意味,㗎喇吓-表示对已经发生的事情进行确认,㗎喇可-通常用于询问他人某物是否已经完成使用,做晒㗎啦吓哗/㗎啦啊嘛-“已经做完了,是吧?”带半信半疑意味。[11]这里引用较多,说明这些粤语汉字并不具备任何表意功能,应该用表音的汉音元素来代替,既简便又准确。

粤语外来词主要来自英语,广州从清朝起已经出现外来语。而到香港殖民地史时期,香港粤语(港式粤语)中吸收外来词特别多,影响着广东境内的粤语区。从1980年代开始,不少粤语外来词渐渐进入了汉语普通话,例如“巴士”(bus/ㄅㄚㄙ)等。有时,这些词被汉语普通话吸收的时候变形,如粤语“搭的”(乘搭的士)被汉语普通话当作“打的”吸收。有些外来词很多是汉语普通话没有吸收的,如“士多”(store/ㄙㄊㄛㄦ);有的是普通话吸收了但译法不同,如汉语普通话中的“沙拉”是在粤语中带有入声的“沙律”;不少外国人名在粤语中的译法,与汉语普通话存在很大差别,如美国总统Bush/ㄅㄨㄒ在普通话汉语中翻译成“布什”,台湾的国语译作“布希”,香港粤语则译成圆唇的“布殊”,还有Reagan/里根/雷根/列根等。这里正是汉音元素的用武之处,只有用标准的汉音元素,才能与英语原音接近,避免各当地语的发音不同而滥用不同的表意汉字来替补。

结论是:这些与发音相关的粤语汉字,都可以、也应该用汉音元素表示。进一步的问题在于:是否,以及如何补充代表粤语发音独有的“粤音元素”到汉音元素方案中?这超出了本文作者的能力,期待别的学者的进一步工作。

 

 [赵京,中日美比较政策研究所,2019104]



[1] 参见赵京:“当代人类学力作揭示的山地东南亚的安那祺史观201188日。

[2] 赵京,2019101日第二稿。

[3] 赵京:《西班牙内战的安那祺主义教训》,2015125日第五版。

[4] 赵京:《鲜为人知的俄国革命:马赫诺运动、喀琅施塔得起义及托洛茨基主义、列宁主义问题》,2014211日第三版。

[5]赵京:“巴黎公社悲剧的意义”,2010118日第二稿。

[6]赵京:《安那祺/自由社会主义》,20151218日第四版。

[7]赵京:台港澳掠影2010124日。

[8] 赵京:“中亚文明简史新译初步”,201945日第一稿。

[9] https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E7%B2%B5%E8%AA%9E

[10] https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%B2%A4%E8%AF%AD

[11] https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%B2%A4%E8%AF%AD 



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Agenda: Bonuses Slapped Down at Bankrupt PG&E 2019-09-27 09:55:36

Bonuses Slapped Down at Bankrupt PG&E

By Tony Chapelle September 23, 2019 

Agenda (a newsletter circulated to business leaders by Financial Times)

Top executives at embattled PG&E had their request for $11 million in performance bonuses quashed last month by the federal bankruptcy court in charge of the company’s restructuring.

Creditors and others affected by the company cheered the Aug. 30 decision. The judge overseeing the case ruled that he wouldn’t allow the utility company’s managers to receive any incentive pay without them showing a clearer link to safety improvements. He also questioned whether the company could afford to pay added compensation. PG&E went into bankruptcy last January after claiming it faces $30 billion in potential liability because of its role in causing a rash of California wildfires.

“The judge made a common-sense judgment,” writes activist investor Jing Zhao in an e-mail. “In fact, it is not enough to deny new million-dollar compensation to the new executives. [The judge] should claw back the millions already paid to the old executives.”

Zhao’s proposal to eliminate the subsidiary layer at PG&E went to a proxy vote this year. Thirteen percent of shareholders supported his resolution to streamline the corporate makeup, which he claimed would save on management compensation.

“This is very supportive [of] my request to dramatically reduce executive pay [by] at least half,” Zhao concluded.

Yet bankruptcy judges and trustees frequently allow boards to pay executive bonuses while they’re reorganizing under Chapter 11. So even though survivors of the catastrophic wildfires consider it unthinkable that some of the same managers who were around when the firm ran into insolvency are seeking incentives, governance and bankruptcy experts predict that it’s not a matter of if but how much they’ll ultimately be awarded.

Last April, Judge Dennis Montali, who is presiding over the case at the federal bankruptcy court for the Northern District of California, approved a $235 million annual bonus plan for 10,000 mid-level PG&E employees. The top 12 executives, who did not include new CEO William Johnson, didn’t participate in that pool. But on Aug. 9, attorneys for PG&E argued that the executives should be awarded bonuses to “appropriately incentivize”  them. To that, Montali quipped, “If they’re not incentivized enough, they ought to find another job, frankly.”

That misses the mark from a legal standpoint, says Howard Brod Brownstein, who has been a chief restructuring officer in bankruptcies. “One has to focus on the overall recovery of the company.”

Brownstein is a director at P&F Industries as well as a certified turnaround professional who operates Brownstein Corporation, a turnaround management firm. He and other directors maintain that, since bankruptcy is the process by which creditors (and shareholders, if there’s anything left to pay them) receive money or assets from the crippled company, it’s vital that the enterprise that emerges from bankruptcy be strong enough to operate. For that, says Brownstein, “you need a knowledgeable and capable management team, who understandably will require more pay … for taking the risk of being at a company that may not survive.”

The Ghost of AIG

Dennis Chookaszian, who has served on 13 public company boards and who teaches corporate governance at the University of Chicago, says the PG&E case reminds him of the infamous bonus controversy that occurred at AIG Group in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Although AIG was the company that most directly wrecked the financial system due to its enormous market in subprime-mortgage credit default swaps, the federal government still assured the company it would be bailed out. In 2008, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson appointed Ed Liddy as CEO of the troubled company. Liddy requested to be paid only $1 a year. Yet just months after AIG accepted a $37 billion loan from Uncle Sam, other managers at the insurer feasted on $165 million in retention bonuses.

Contractually, Liddy was obligated to pay the bonuses. But he appealed to the executives’ consciences and asked them to return the extra pay so the company could climb back into the black quicker. Many likely declined his request, although the response to the giveback request was not revealed. His only other recourse would have been to bring a lawsuit, which Chookaszian thinks Liddy would have lost. “So he had to pay them so as to keep those executives working for AIG and keep the company going,” Chookaszian says.

The situation is similar with PG&E, Chookaszian says. “The judge probably has to pay some bonuses to keep the people.”

The Haggle

Chookaszian predicts there will be continuing negotiations between the judge and the utility’s attorneys. He says the judge probably will attempt to help the company hold on to the maximum amount of money it can to pay as much of the $30 billion in legal liabilities as possible. “He’s probably going to have to blink to keep from diminishing the value of the company. But there are no rules on this. It’s whatever the judge can work out to keep the people. He starts out by saying he’s not going pay anything. They come back and put pressure on him. It goes back and forth.”

Chookaszian says once PG&E emerges, it will likely be sold to one or more investors who’ll probably create a new public company.


“One thing you know for sure: there’s going to be a new PG&E.” Chookaszian explains that the only mystery is whether the new company will keep all of the assets or if the judge will spin off multiple companies to different parts of the state.

Until then, however, Chookaszian says, the judge will have to approve bonuses to appease the managers. “If not, the power shuts down in California.”

Montali acknowledged that the executive bonus plan had been vetted by independent compensation consultants to bring it comparatively close to what the market would bear. But in bankruptcy cases, outright retention bonuses are verboten. Executives at bankrupt companies must prove they’re being incentivized based on performance.

Retention vs. Performance

Up until 2005, companies that filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions routinely asked the court for bonuses through so-called key employee retention plans, or KERPs, explains Shepherd Pryor IV. He’s a former deputy head of corporate banking at Wells Fargo and former director at Taylor Capital Group. “The KERP would coax key employees to stay through resolution of the bankruptcy, and things would work out … better for both employees and the company,” writes Pryor in an e-mail.

But in 2005, when the bankruptcy code was overhauled, KERPs for senior executives suddenly were viewed as a way for failed managers to remain ensconced in their positions. What are called key employee incentive plans, or KEIPs, took the place of KERPs.

Pryor states that the difference is that KEIPs don’t aim to save the company from losing value through key departures but, instead, incentivize and require managers to perform better before they earn additional money. “Still, in a litigious atmosphere, KEIPs are often criticized in litigation for being disguised KERPs,” he says.

Indeed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Montali ruled that PG&E’s bonus plan failed to show an “ascertainable connection between the officers’ performance and the metrics.” He did, however, leave open a door for bonuses after the company brushed up its act. The newspaper reported that Montali said he’d let PG&E propose a new plan that did not include cash payments but that was “solely motivated by safety metrics.”

An outside counsel representing PG&E in the bankruptcy case, Stephen Karotkin at the law firm Weil Gotschal, did not return calls for comment.

Stephen H. Case, a retired senior partner at law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell and a specialist in bankruptcy and restructurings, applauds the position that Montali took. He claims the PG&E board needs to tighten up and address performance issues the way the court does.

Indeed, Case, who was chairman of Motors Liquidation Co., which had been General Motors until its assets were unwound after the financial crisis, isn’t completely sure PG&E has to pay the bonuses at all.

“Running a utility, in my limited experience, basically requires competent engineering skills, and in America there are a lot of competent engineers. Couldn’t the board hire a headhunter and in short order replace the top 20 people at PG&E? Do you really need to pay a large bonus to keep people? So it makes sense to me that Judge Montali says, ‘Come on, guys. You can do better than paying bonuses just to keep them here. Show me that they’re doing their job and doing it well.’”

On Sept. 13, PG&E announced a preliminary court settlement with insurance companies and hedge funds that had invested in insurance claims that will repay the bulk of fire victims from Northern California wildfires in 2017 and the Camp Fire in 2018. The company says the agreement covers 85% of these so-called subrogation claims. In addition, PG&E asked the court to cap its direct payments to fire victims at $8.4 billion. The requests are subject to approval by the bankruptcy court.

But on Sept. 19, bondholders – including hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. – and a court-authorized committee that represents the fires victims asked the bankruptcy court’s permission to file a competing chapter 11 plan that would pay $24 billion to victims.

PG&E issued a statement complaining that the bondholders already were to be paid in full for their bonds under its proposed plan, and therefore should not have voting rights on the bankruptcy terms. PG&E claims Elliott and its allies are trying to “get more than they are entitled to und



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再次关注Visa公司的高层报酬哲学 2019-08-22 20:51:15

2011年,我第一次参加Visa公司的股东年会[1],但没有深入关注它的企业治理。2019723日,我正式向Visa提交付诸2020年股东年会表决的提案,要求改进Executive Compensation Philosophy/高层报酬哲学[2]我注意到有不少大公司都付费给FW Cook咨询行,提供高层报酬的建议。其实,设计一个参数模型算出一个数目并不难,这也正是我的研究生专长(社会学方法论),不过我不能在提案中引用自己的研究结论,所以希望别人从事这个非常重要的工作。可惜,所有的商学院、法学院都以受雇为目标,不可能做出独立的研究,结果,只好由受公司雇佣的FW Cook这样的咨询行给出公司董事会想听的建议[3]。我的提案就是要从根本上改变这种情形,从CEO pay ratio/与雇员报酬中值的比值开始。多年来,高层报酬的高升“气球”成为社会问题,引起公众和政府重视,从去年开始,美国证券交易委员会/SEC要求上市公司必须公布CEO与雇员报酬中值的比值,正好为社会活动人士们提供了一个可以利用的客观数值。Visa2018CEO与雇员报酬中值的比值是147,作为超级国际公司,如果与日本大公司的不到20的比值相比,所要做的改进,一目了然。我的提案也引用《华尔街日报》2019年3月17日的报道:S&P/标准普尔500强公司中132家公司2018年CEO的中值是12.4百万美元,而2017年是11.7百万美元。这样的趋势不仅是个人贪婪的社会不公问题,更是无法持续的美国经济和金融的系统问题。

812日,我与VisaSenior Counsel and Assistant Secretary/高级律师兼助理秘书长Katcher女士以及另外两位公司管理人员通话讨论我的提案,时间不够,约定再谈。五年前,Katcher女士在Symantec公司任职时邀请我就我的人权提案去公司会谈[4],给我留下很好的专业印象,这一次,她也很尽职地力图在我(股东)和董事会之间传递、沟通,令人感谢。其间,我又于819日向苹果公司提交了类似提案[5]822日,我再与Katcher和另外一个公司管理人员通话,充分表达了我的提案的背景、意图、立场和理由,达到了交流的目的。我又引用今天的The Economists封面文章“What companies are for”提及的特别是美国大公司的危机和CBS新闻814日的报道:“40年间,CEO的收入增长940%,但普通员工只增加12%”[6]。他们两次会议都强调Visa在旧金山湾区,比别的公司的报酬哲学好多了,如在硅谷并不算大的电子艺术公司,2018CEO报酬是35,728,764美元,2019CEO报酬与雇员报酬中值的比值200,Chief Design Officer/设计总48,385,837美元[7]当然,我和董事会之间在高层报酬哲学方面分歧巨大,不能两次会议就互相达成妥协。Katcher最后问我,还有什么意见要转告给董事会吗?我举出日本的例子,据说丰田等大公司的高管最高的奋斗目标是退休时希望得到一枚天皇颁发的勋章,难道美国的CEO们除了金钱就没有更高的荣誉追求吗?

我尊重Katcher他们作为公司律师/官员的功能,同意如果这次提案得以在明年的股东会议付诸表决,以后可以非正式地与他们交流,不必/不再正式提案付诸表决(也迫使董事会必须发布反对声明)。我也相信她不会排除这次提案,因为那样的话,双方就只好诉诸SEC的裁决,如果这一次没有得到表决,我一定会每年略加修改不断提案,直到得以表决为止。

与每次都雇佣律师行排除我的提案的苹果公司相比,Visa是相当友善的。我向其他公司提交明年股东会议的提案都会专注高层报酬,因为这是美国企业治理几十年来没有得到解决的最大的问题和挑战,任重而道远。 

 [赵京,中日美比较政策研究所,2019822]


[1] 赵京:首次参加VISA股东年会2011127日。

[2] http://cpri.tripod.com/cpr2019/visa_proposal_2020.pdf

[3] 它实际上也做过一些客观的调查,如2018 Global Top 250 Compensation Survey https://www.fwcook.com/content/documents/publications/12-17-18_FWC_2018_Global_Top_250_Final.pdf,只是它不会提供公司不想听的信息,如日欧企业高管的报酬远远低于美加的企业高管。

[4] 赵京:世界最大网络安全公司的股东提案2015113日。

[5][5] http://cpri.tripod.com/cpr2019/apple_proposal_2020.pdf

[6] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ceo-pay-in-940-more-than-40-years-ago-workers-make-12-more/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a

[7] 赵京:“Electronic Arts/电子艺术2019年股东会议提案201988日。



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Proposal to Apple to Improve Guiding Principles 2019-08-19 16:40:17

Shareholder Proposal to Improve Guiding Principles of Executive Compensation

 

Resolved: shareholders recommend that Apple Inc. improve guiding principles of executive compensation.

Supporting Statement

According to Apple 2019 Proxy Statement, “Since 2014, the Compensation Committee has engaged the services of Pay Goverance, …on matters for which the Compensation Committee is responsible.” (p. 30).  Any single paid-by-company consulting firm cannot provide principled executive compensation services.  The failure of our executive compensation principles is clearly shown in the same $1,000,000 salary, the same $21,491,888 stock award and the same $4,000,000 non-equity incentive plan compensation in 2018 to each of Apple’s four of five named executive officers (p.38). What is use of the Compensation Committee when it could not differentiate the contribution of the tremendously different functions of the CFO, the Retail SVP, the COO and the Secretary of Apple?  These four NEOs pay ratio to the median compensated employee is larger than $26,509,692/$55,426=478 to 1 (p.38 & p.46)!

Furthermore, “[w] ith the assistance of Pay Governance, the Compensation Committee identified groups of companies to serve as market reference points for compensation comparison purposes for 2018.” However, all the 25 peers are domestic companies (p. 30) despite that fact that Apple is an international business. “During 2018, the Company’s domestic and international net sales accounted for 37% and 63%, respectively, of total net sales.” (2018 Form 10-K p.6)

Nationwide, “Median compensation for 132 chief executives of S&P 500 companies reached $12.4 million in 2018, up from $11.7 million for the same group in 2017, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.” (March 17, 2019).  “CEOs rake in 940% more than 40 years ago, while average workers earn 12% more” (CBSNEWS August 14, 2019).  America’s ballooning executive compensation is neither responsible for the society nor sustainable for the economy.

For the purpose of this proposal, the Board and the Compensation Committee have the flexibility to improve guiding principles of executive compensation.



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