Danes sick of golden pay packets for CEOs

Stephen Gadd
May 29th, 2017

This article is more than 6 years old.

There is an increasingly large divide between pay packages and bonuses to CEOs and the wages of ordinary Danish workers

Some CEOs just can’t get enough (photo: Max Pixell)

A survey carried out by Wilke on behalf of Finans, the digital business media of Jyllands-Posten, reveals that the majority of Danes believe that remuneration packages to CEOs are far too generous.

Out of the 2,000 people surveyed, 68 percent thought that bosses were paid too much.

“It is interesting and thought-provoking that with a few slight differences the answers are very consistent across income groups and political observances,” said Ken Bechmann, a professor in the department of finance at Copenhagen Business School.

Filling their boots
At the same time, almost three out of four said it was important for social cohesion that CEO wages don’t deviate too far from current salary trends.

READ ALSO: Danish maritime leader rewards employees

However, a report from Deloitte quoted by Finans shows that they have. According to their analysis, CEO wages have increased by almost 10 percent per year, whilst bonuses rose by 22 percent per year during the period 2013-2016.

In comparison, average wages in the private sector have risen by 6 percent over the entire period.

“If you want the best centre-forward on your football team, you have to pay for it,” said Lars Frederiksen, the chairperson of the committee for good company leadership.

Really cashing in
There have been several recent examples that have highlighted the problem. One is Nets boss Bo Nilsson, who trousered a bonus of over half a billion kroner when the company was launched on the stock exchange.

At Carlsberg, a number of shareholders voted against the board of directors’ suggested pay package for the company’s CEO at the last annual general meeting.

“The headlines in the debate are the same as they have been for many years. But recently, complaints have begun to come from the liberal parties,” Bechmann said.

He added that Per Stig Møller, the former chairman of Konservative, “has appealed to companies to explain what is right and proper with regard to wages”.


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