Angry about CEO bonuses? Look at their falling net worth, too


BusinessWeek reports on lingering resentment among investors and rank-and-file workers over huge pay packages for CEOs presiding over companies whose shareholders watch their portfolios shrivel like a raisin in the sun. "Michael Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) saw his pay climb 39 percent last year, even though the retailer's stock fell 72 percent and it has trimmed staff. (Abercrombie declined to comment.)"

But Abercrombie is a bad example to use in this case. Here's why: The company's latest proxy statement shows that Jeffries owns 6,359,766 shares -- 6.82 percent of the company, worth about $475 million in early 2008, when shares traded in the $75 range. When the stock bottomed out last November, at $13.66 a share, his stake was worth $86 million, less than one-fifth of its earlier value. In the context of that kind of scalding bath, Jeffries's $4.5 million raise was probably cold comfort.

Originally published