A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 2 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part III-Chapter 18 : Hail to the CEOs  >   Index and Introduction  :    Previous  1 2 - 3 - 4 - 5  Next

The Enron story is particularly illustrative of the decay of corporate morality which has developed along with soaring top executive compensation. Enron executives, not only Lay and Skilling, were living it up at the top of the world, traveling in business jets and limousines, and cashing in multi-million bonuses, based on profits which were a mere mirage of creative accounting practices.

When the roof fell in over Enron, the top managers, Lay, Skilling, but also Rebecca Mark, the deal-making diva and water queen, Ken Rice, the broadband macho, Lou Pai, the stripper-loving trader, and scores of others cashed their holdings, selling $1.2 billion worth of stock, while regular employees had their 401k accounts blocked by the company.

The Enron bankruptcy was just the first of a number of corporate casualties in the race of ever higher top executive compensations, lower morality and a general disdain for the lower classes of law abiding people. At that level, white collar crime was finally sanctioned, with the most infamous villains (Jeff Skilling, Dennis Kozlowski, etc) sentenced to long terms in prison. Corporate governance has been improved, notably thanks to the Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002.

The CEO compensation spiral has not so far been flattened and excesses go on in the C-Suites of our largest corporations. New villains have been identified in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis which is deeply affecting our lives, every day. People like Angelo Mozillo, James Cayne, Robert Fuld, or an unidentified composite of careless traders were held responsible for the financial meltdown following the Lehman bankruptcy.

But were they not themselves misled by their compensation schemes, which rewarded risk takers more than the cautious, and which pushed the morally least solid to commit increasingly serious offenses to law? Is excessive CEO compensation just the tip of an iceberg of unimaginable proportions? And then, why are CEOs overpaid and what can we do against it ?


Read more about the richest American CEOs in the following pages of
"A Classification of American Wealth"

Billionaire CEOs  (10 pages)
       Table 1 : Billionaire CEOs
Centimillionaire income CEOs  (9 pages)
       Table 2 : Centimillionaire income CEOs
       Table 3 : CEOs with centimillion dollar exit packages  (2 pages)    
Of good and bad CEOs  (8 pages + 3 tables)
       Table 4 : Top 10 Best CEOs
       Table 5 : Top 10 Worst CEOs
       Table 6 : Scoundrel CEOs
Enron : Climax of executive greed and deception  (12 pages)
Why CEOs are overpaid  (8 pages)

From the Encyclopedia of American Wealth :
       Thematic list : The richest American CEOs (2008)




Hail to the CEOs  >   Index and Introduction  :   Previous  1 2 - 3 - 4 - 5  Next

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