Putting Nike's $96,000-a-day compensation to Mark Parker into perspective

Chuck Sheketoff

Six months ago I noted the great disconnect between Nike CEO and President Mark Parker’s compensation and that of the typical Oregon household. Parker topped the compensation chart in the Portland Business Journal's report of executive pay in publicly traded businesses in Oregon. His daily compensation was $96,000 — more than twice the annual compensation of the typical (median) Oregon household in 2011 ($46,816).

In "The Infinity Pool of Executive Pay" this past weekend, The New York Times reported that Nike's Mark Parker had the fourth highest compensation in the nation among corporations with at least $5 billion in annual revenue in a list compiled by the executive compensation data firm Equilar. And when you play with the data you will see that Parker won top slot for biggest growth in compensation in the nation.

The New York Times article notes the great disconnect between the business leaders' claims that they have become more sensitive about public perceptions of compensation excesses and the perks they are enjoying.

And the great disconnect I wrote about six months ago — income inequality, stagnant wages and high unemployment on one hand and the growth of CEO pay on the other — rings true nationally as well. As the Times noted, this is all happening "even though unemployment remains high by historical standards and the top 1 percent of earners face higher taxes." The article posits "executives and boards may figure that the popular outrage that followed the financial crisis and the recession has cooled a bit."

Are people still outraged? Or does winning take care of everything?

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

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