For the average worker, the term "benefits package" usually brings to mind cash compensation, which may include salary, bonuses, and stock options. However, once one ascends to the executive ranks, the packages change substantially. Upper-level managers, particularly chief executives, are often granted access to an exclusive set of non-cash benefits. These perquisites, more commonly referred to as perks, may not be cash, but they can be valuable. Despite the record losses that occurred in the financial sector, many executives still receive huge bonuses and perks. Here are some common perks enjoyed by CEOs.
Financial Counseling and Tax Preparation
Due to the complex nature of their compensation packages, chief executives are often provided with tax preparation services paid for by their employers. Occidental Petroleum (OXY) paid over $400,000 in 2008 for professional services to handle CEO Ray Irani's financial issues.
Many firms recognize that their CEOs need protection, which may come in the form of personal security details and home security monitoring services. The overall trend in spending on CEO security has been downward in recent years. Leslie Moonves, formerly of CBS, received $587,150 in 2018 for security.
The executive suite often comes with the freedom to select executive décor, and the company foots the bill for each executive's fancy furniture. Former Merrill Lynch CEO, John Thain, made headlines in 2008 for adorning his office with over $1 million worth of pricey furnishings. Thain's indulgence reportedly included an $87,000 area rug and a $1,400 trash can.
Cars and Drivers
Despite media attention paid to corporate jet travel, many CEOs are provided with ground transportation perks, including company cars, privileged parking, or a car and driver. According to MarketWatch, the median value for this perk was $17,498 in 2015.
Many CEOs are allowed the use of the corporate plane for personal travel. They are given a monetary limit in their benefits package. This includes bringing family and friends on board for travel and even business trips. In 2015, approximately 40% of S&P 500 CEOs made use of this perk. For example, Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan N.V., (MYL) was given $98,268 for personal use of the company aircraft in 2018. This pales in comparison to Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM (IBM), who received $364,643 in 2018 for use of the company jet.
Country Club Fee Reimbursement
Overall, instances of this long-standing perk appear to be dwindling, however some companies still foot the bill for such social and leisurely activities. One commonly provided excuse for footing country club fees is that consorting with fellow executives can help build business and new relationships.
Gifts for the Road
By way of retirement benefits and pensions, some CEOs manage to collect bigger paychecks after their jobs are done. In 2016, Former Boeing (BA) CEO, W. James McNerney Jr., departed the company with a compensation package worth $19.9 million.
It's Good To Be the Boss
Special treatment and privileges are often reserved for high-level employees and members of any organization. While the perks in this list may be considered normal in executive circles, members of the general public tend to disagree. While public disdain may have caused some companies to scale back executive compensation in recent years, CEO perks remain in a class of their own. (For related reading, see: Job Hunting: Higher Pay vs. Better Benefits.)