It’s hard work…

October 5, 2004

Not to co-opt a phrase from last week’s Presidential debates, but being a director at a publicly traded company is hard work. There’s lots of meetings (well, at least a few, anyway) and things to read that are often filled with numbers. Fortunately for its overworked directors, Cisco Systems (CSCO) has finally recognized how hard its 19 directors work and has given them a big pay raise. According to the latest proxy, Cisco upped their retainer to $75,000 a year, more than twice what directors made in fiscal 2003. In addition, non-employee directors now receive $2,000 per meeting up from zero, which bumps up their pay even more. Despite the hefty raise, the board met the same number of times — six — in 2004 as in 2003, though in fairness, the three audit committee members met 14 times, up from 10 in 2003. Still, given Cisco’s performance over the past year — the stock is down more than 20 percent YTD — investors better hope those directors are spending some of their time discussing ways to enhance shareholder value.

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