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Are CEO retirements too rich?

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Friday, November 22, 2013
Posted: 11 am ET

Do you want to feel a little retirement planning jealous?

Take a look at the retirement nest eggs of CEOs of major public companies.

The Center for Effective Government, a nonprofit research center focused on making government more accountable, took aim at two organizations made up of CEOs that it says are dedicated to weakening Social Security. The organizations are the Business Roundtable and Fix the Debt.

The Business Roundtable has 200 member CEOs. The group supports raising the age at which retirees receive full Social Security benefits to 70 and changing the inflation calculation used to determine cost-of-living adjustments to the chained consumer price index. Fix the Debt has 135 CEO members and calls for reduced government spending, including spending less on Social Security.

The Center for Effective Government report complains about the massive retirement plans of these CEOs, averaging $1.45 million, based on proxy statements found on the Security and Exchange Commission website. The center's data show that at least some members have exceptionally large nest eggs. Here are the 10 members of these companies with the most comfortable retirement plans:

  • John Hammergren, CEO of McKesson, $144.3 million.
  • David Cote, Honeywell, $134.5 million.
  • Michael Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, $113.2 million.
  • Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil, $69.4 million.
  • John Strangfeld, Prudential Financial $62.9 million.
  • Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric, $59.3 million.
  • Brian Roberts, Comcast, $57.2 million.
  • Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark, $56.9 million.
  • Randall Stephenson, AT&T, $52.2 million.
  • Alan Lafley, Procter & Gamble, $50.3 million.

No doubt about it, these guys have more in their 401(k)s, deferred compensation and supplemental executive retirement plans than most of us can even contemplate. There are no limits on the amount of income on which these executives can defer paying taxes. In his 2014 budget, President Obama proposed capping executive retirement plans at the amount necessary to provide a $205,000 annual annuity -- about $3.4 million in 2013. The administration estimates that if executives had to pay taxes upfront on the rest of what they are putting aside, it would raise an additional $1 billion in current tax revenue annually.

What do you think? Should we put limits on this corporate largesse?

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John Galt
November 28, 2013 at 11:19 am

I don't care what some CEO's retirement income is. I simply want to be able to make my own life without the federal government continually asking for more. Why are people so envious of other people's good fortune? Make your own life...and that will be much easier if Washington backs off.

November 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

I don't care what a single CEO makes.

I care that the healthcare of tens of millions is being destroyed.