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The economy may be troubled, but that doesn’t mean that the right CEO in the right place can’t make a pretty good buck.

Reuters reports that Wal-Mart Stores CEO Lee Scott earned $18.28 million in 2002, including $13.1 million in restricted stock, more than twice his 2001 pay.

Scott earned salary of $1.14 million and a $3.16 million bonus in 2002, up 77 percent from his bonus in 2001, when his total compensation was reported at $8.66 million.

Wal-Mart EVP Thomas Coughlin also more than doubled his pay, earning a total of $7.87 million in 2002 versus $3.11 million in 2001.

Wal-Mart earned $8 billion in its last fiscal year ending Jan. 31, up 20 percent from fiscal 2001 despite a tough economy.

Meanwhile, over at Target, chairman and CEO Robert J. Ulrich earned $1.4 million in salary as well as a bonus of $4.6 million in fiscal 2003. The year before, he was awarded a bonus of $3.7 million.

Gregg W. Steinhafel, president of Target Stores, was paid a salary of $896,000, compared with $872,000 in fiscal 2002; his bonus was $1.2 million, up from $814,027 the year before.
KC's View:
We read a lot of newspapers each day, and there have been a ton of stories about top executives who are getting big pay increases despite problems with their businesses and shortcomings in their performances. In none of these critical stories, however, are the Wal-Mart and Target CEOs mentioned -- because if nothing else, these guys give their companies great value and performance.