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“Fill ‘er up” applies to Exxon Mobil exec’s comp…

Anyone who has filled a vehicle’s gas tank lately knows that prices at the pump are a lot higher than they were a couple of weeks ago. CNNMoney.com’s Feb. 25 article – citing the AAA motor club – reported that the national average for regular gas cost consumers $3.287 per gallon – the highest it has been since October, 2008.

There are reasons why gas prices fluctuate so quickly: The unrest in the Middle East and North Africa must surely be a contributing factor, soon if not yet, and we know that the forces of supply and demand affect commodity prices more quickly than other parts of the market.

But the dramatic spikes related to oil companies aren’t just showing up at the gas pump. We found another one in Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (XOM) Feb. 25 10-K. In a two-sentence section marked “Other Information” near the bottom of page 38, Exxon Mobil disclosed:

Effective April 1, 2011, the annual salary for Michael J. Dolan will increase to $1,010,000. Like all other Exxon Mobil executive officers, Mr. Dolan is an ‘at will’ employee of the Corporation and does not have an employment contract.”

To find out just how much of a jump that was ($75,000 as it turns out), we turned to the April, 2010 proxy, where we learned that Dolan’s base salary for 2010 was $935,000. And we also learned that the $935,000 number was $90,000 higher than Dolan’s 2009 base salary of $845,000.

Raises of $165,000 in two years are nothing to be sneezed at. In this case, they don’t appear to be tied to a promotion, nor was any explanation given for why he got an increase and other named executive officers didn’t. Dolan is a senior vice president at Exxon Mobil, a position he has held since April 1, 2008. Prior to assuming that post, he worked for 3-1/2 years as the President of Exxon Mobil Chemical Company.

Then again, the company’s last earnings statement, released Jan. 31, reported that Exxon Mobil’s full-year earnings for 2010 were up 57% over 2009’s numbers. The company attributed the increase primarily to factors such as “higher crude oil and natural gas realizations, stronger refining margins and record Chemical performance.”

But unlike oil companies’ profits and the cost of gasoline at the pump – which do occasionally decrease – their executives’ salaries only seem to go up, and stay there.

Image source: Sapphireblue via flickr

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