Annual meeting: April 27 In 2014, Jeff Immelt’s total disclosed compensation was $37,250,774 and for 2015 the same total is $32,973,947. That number is misleading. A major portion of last year’s total was increase in pension value. In terms of cash Immelt’s pay increased in 2015. To its credit, GE reports an SEC adjusted total that does show the $3 million increase overall. The highest area of increase was Immelt’s Non-Equity Incentive Compensation (NEIC), which went from $2.4 million to $7.6 million. (The NEIC went up in part because of a change in metrics in April 2015.) Immelt also received a non-deductible cash bonus of $5.4 million, the same as the prior year.
The biggest difference between 2014 and 2015 was that that last year the pension value increased by $18.5 million and this year it only increased by $6.3 million. Mind you, this is not a decline in his pension value, it is just that the value of his pension under accounting rules grew a bit less. His combined pension plans are worth more than $78 million by the way. At this point it is obviously an intergenerational wealth transfer vehicle rather than a retirement cushion.
Immelt provides an amazing example of the upward trend in CEO pay. In 2001 when he became CEO he earned $6.2 million in salary and bonus, and received 1.2 million stock options. It is hard to do a direct comparison because disclosure rules have changed somewhat, but we can compare the cash component of pay: from 2001 to 2015 it grew from $6.2 million to $16.8 million. According to Fortune magazine, “When [Immelt] got the job on Sept. 7, 2001, GE stock was $40 a share. Today, after the company released 1st quarter numbers, it reach a low of $30.31.
Bottom line: cash pay nearly tripled, and stock price is down.