Dr. David J. Thomsen
PH 800.627.3697

2002 Has Not Been Financially Kind to Top Executives

Redmond, WA - 9/17/2002 12:00:00 AM - The highest paid executives saw a 1.9 percent decrease in their total compensation in the second quarter of 2002, according to the most recent Executive Compensation Index released by the Economic Research Institute (ERI) and This is in sharp contrast to the 15.7% increase in total compensation executives received two years ago.

Since 2000, executive pay raises have fallen dramatically, with an average increase of just 2.1% last year, followed by a 1.5% increase in the first quarter of 2002, and a 1.9% decrease in the second quarter of 2002. The highest paid exec for the most recent survey period was Steven Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer. He received no salary but was given a $43,511,534 bonus.
In spite of the decrease in total executive compensation in the most recent quarter, executives did not see their compensation fall as rapidly as company revenues, which fell 2.1% in the second quarter.

The Index, instituted in 1997, tracks the total cash compensation (salary + bonus) for the highest-paid executives at a cross section of 45 major U.S. businesses. It also examines whether or not executive compensation is increasing or decreasing faster than company annual revenues. This measurement can be used to determine the executive’s value to the stockholders.

“These findings are consistent with the negative employment outlook," explains Tony Lee, editor in chief of, The Wall Street Journal’s executive career site. “The highest paid executives are not faring any better than middle or lower management."

“Until the economy starts to improve, we don’t foresee an increase in overall executive pay," says Dr. David Thomsen, Director, ERI Economic Research Institute. “Rising company revenues and increases in executive compensation will be signs of an economic recovery."

The Index results are compiled by ERI/ each quarter and capture total cash compensation reported in the previous 12-month survey period. The index (1997 = 100) stood at 167.6 on January 1, 2002 compared to 166.8 for August 2, 2002.

The entire Economic Research Institute (ERI)/ Executive Cash Compensation Index and Report can be found on ERI’s site by clicking here.

The Wall Street Journal’s ( is the premier career site targeted to executives and professionals. Featuring more than 30,000 top-level jobs and 2,500 articles on all aspects of job hunting and career management, the site attracts over 500,000 unique visitors monthly. features salary data, negotiating tips, popular columns from The Wall Street Journal, and exclusive content from its own dedicated news staff. The site was recently awarded a gold star and named Best Executive Career Site by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, was named “Editor’s Choice" as best executive job site by PC Magazine, received a Best of the Web award from Forbes magazine and was selected Best Site by CareerXRoads in their 2002 Directory.

About ERI
ERI Economic Research Institute was founded in 1987 to provide research for private and public organizations in the form of published reports and software database products. ERI’s research database software subscriptions are now widely used, with over 6,000 corporate and consulting subscribers (affecting over 20,000 organizations’ pay practices, including most of the largest U.S. companies). Subscribers include corporate compensation, relocation, human resources, and other professionals as well as independent consultants and counselors, and U.S. and Canadian public sector (including military, law enforcement, city/county, state/provincial, and federal government pay administrators). ERI also offers online learning through its Distance Learning Center, ERI’s industry-leading Executive Compensation Assessor product was used in the calculation of the above index.

Beth Brody, Brody PR (for

Dr. David J. Thomsen, ERI