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David Dillon, CEO of Kroger Co, speaks during an interview in New York, October 17, 2012. Kroger Co, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, raised on Tuesday its long-term earnings growth target with plans to expand in existing markets and buy back stock, sending its shares up more than 4 percent.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD HEADSHOT) - RTR3998J
David Dillon
Maybe it takes being a former CEO to make the light shine through, but it's good to hear a little sensible talk on CEO pay from someone who's gotten those paychecks—in this case, Kroger chair and former CEO David Dillon, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about his own final year compensation of $12.7 million:
“While I don’t really defend that amount, it even seems ludicrous to me, it wasn’t that ludicrous at the time they put it together until the stock price went up,” said Dillon, who stepped down from the CEO post of the Cincinnati supermarket chain at the beginning of this year but remains chairman.

And on executive pay in general, Dillon said, “I think it’s also gotten a little extreme or a lot extreme.”

Let's go with "a lot extreme," okay?

That's not to say Dillon is arguing for anything but a little bit of moderation, saying "But when I look at what’s expected typically of a CEO, the life expectancy, the lack of job security, the 7-by-24 commitment, I don’t dispute that they ought to be paid really well. It’s just that I think it’s gotten a little bit out of hand." (Apparently he's not aware that lots of people lack job security, and that it's common in retail, restaurants, and other industries now for low-wage workers to be expected to be available "7-by-24"—even if they're only given a few hours of work each week, they have to be ready to drop everything if called in any time. And not in order "to be paid really well.") Additionally, Dillon argues that boards of companies are reasonable to try to buy CEO talent with high pay—except that it turns out, higher CEO pay doesn't lead to higher stock returns.

Still, when it comes to America's multimillionaire CEOs, a glimmer of sanity is a welcome surprise, even if it's incomplete.

(Via Think Progress)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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