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BlackRock, Vanguard among managers siding with companies on CEO compensation — report

BlackRock (BLK), Vanguard Group, TIAA-CRFF, TCW Group, Calamos Advisors (CLMS) and Waddell & Reed are among the mutual fund companies more likely to vote with management on CEO compensation, said As You Sow, an organization that promotes corporate environmental and social responsibility through shareholder advocacy.

In a report released Thursday, of what it identifies as the 100 most overpaid CEOs of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies, As You Sow found Calamos and TCW both voted 100% of the time for the CEO pay packages; Waddell & Reed, 99%; BlackRock and Vanguard, both 97%; and TIAA-CREF, 96%.

Among the top paid CEOs in the report, based on annual meetings from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, were David Zaslav of Discovery Communications Inc. at $156 million; Satya Nadella of Microsoft Corp. at $84 million; and Steven Mollenkopf of Qualcomm Inc. at $60 million.

Ed Sweeney, BlackRock spokesman, pointed to BlackRock's executive compensation voting guidelines, which say, “We believe that compensation committees are in the best position to make compensation decisions and should maintain significant flexibility in administering compensation programs. … Companies should explicitly disclose how incentive plans reflect strategy and incorporate long-term shareholder value drivers. … We support incentive plans that foster the sustainable achievement of results.”

Bess Joffe, TIAA-CREF managing director of stewardship and corporate governance, said in a statement: “We believe our approach to executive compensation — evaluating companies on a case-by-case basis and conducting direct, ongoing engagement — is the most effective way to support practices that reward sustainable shareholder value.”

Doug Morris, TCW spokesman, said in an e-mail: “As a long-only manager, TCW invests in companies that have business strategies and management teams we have confidence in.”

Arianna Stefanoni Sherlock, Vanguard spokeswoman, said in an e-mail, “We don't have anything else to add on the report.”

Jennifer McGuffin, Calamos spokeswoman, couldn't be reached for comment. Waddell & Reed media representatives couldn't be reached for comment.