NEW YORK -- Stock compensation set a record high in 1998, according to a study by Pearl Meyer & Partners.
Options and stock awarded by the largest U.S. companies to top executives and other employees averaged 2% of outstanding common stock -- an 11% increase from the 1997 average of 1.8%, and a 74% increase from the 1993 average of 1.15%.
Stock option grants composed more than half of chief executives' total pay in 1998. Proxy officers -- the five most highly compensated members of senior management -- received 16.9% of all stock options awarded by the surveyed companies, and CEOs received more than 40% of the proxy officer grants, or 7.4% of all options awarded.
"Stock grants surged in 1998, further entrenching equity as the American way to pay," according to Pearl Meyer, president of the firm.
"There's no question that stock option plans are working their way through the rank and file; however, it's still senior management that gets the lion's share."
The study covers the 200 largest public U.S. industrial and service corporations.