Tuesday, August 30, 2005

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A CEO










Gary Smith, CEO of Ciena Corporation.


Being a lawyer is hard work. Clients expect you to be smarter and faster than your adversary, they expect you to get things done on short order and, in essence, they expect you to perform miracles even when they have dug themselves some doozies of holes in which they find themselves buried. Even more stressful for lawyers is the fact that compensation is many times tied to the results. Think about all the personal injury lawyers whose fees are contingent upon winning. That's a lot of risk to take. Even with lawyers whose clients are on retainer, there are few experienced lawyers out there who haven't had to fight a client who refused to pay the bill solely because of displeasure with the outcome.

Lately, I have been thinking about great ways to get rich so that I won't have to work anymore. I am smart, hard-working and conscientious. I am employable.

I was thinking that I should be a CEO of a corporation. Oh, it doesn't matter what type of corporation I would rule. As long as it is publicly traded, it could be pharmaceuticals or computers. Makes no difference to me. Let me know if you hear of any openings.

You see, I read an article this morning that made me realize that I am in the wrong profession and being a CEO is the way to go. You don't have to be smart, you don't have to be good and you don't even have to succeed. I am already overqualified. All I have to do is show up, make some decisions that may or may not run the stock value into the ground and I get paid a bazillion dollars regardless of what happens. Yippee.
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P125120.asp

The following leaders should be an inspiration to us all:

  • Gary Smith (pictured above) at Ciena (CIEN). His shareholders have been virtually wiped out -- losing 93% in the past four years. His compensation over that period: $41.2 million.
  • Jure Sola, the CEO and chairman at Sanmina-SCI (SANM, news, msgs) collected $26.4 million during the past four years while Sanmina shares fell 78%. The bulk of Sola's pay came in the form of a performance bonus of $19.9 million, paid for hitting one recent quarter's targets.
  • Sun Microsystems (SUNW) paid Scott McNealy, its CEO, chairman and founder, $13.1 million a year over the past four years, even as Sun's shareholders lost 76% of their money.
  • Shares of supermarket chain Albertson's (ABS) fell 39% over the past four years. Despite this dismal record, Albertson’s CEO and Chairman Larry Johnston collected a total of $76.2 million in that time.
  • Under CEO Peter Dolan’s watch at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), shareholders have seen the stock decline by 48% over the past four years. Dolan took home $41 million.
If only I could be like one of these pioneers, I could get the job for a couple years, run the company into the ground and then retire on the $50 million exit payment I would receive.

Unfortunately, however, I have this annoying this called a conscience and an even more annoying principle called integrity. Doh!

So, if I become CEO of a corporation, I am going to change all this. I will tie my earnings to the earnings of my corporation. It's a good incentive to act wisely and cautiously. A reasonable base salary plus the possibility of bonuses every year that the stock value increases seems fair to me. And, if I run the company into the ground, that golden parachute severance payment is forfeited. Workers of America are expected to perform and perform well, so why should CEO's be treated any differently?

Remember, let me know if you hear of any openings.

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