Paid to volunteer?

March 22, 2005

When you’re taking home several million a year in salary and bonus as Kerr McGee’s (KMG) CEO and Chairman Luke Corbett did last year, isn’t it a tad greedy to have the company provide you with a stipend for your volunteer work too? In its recent proxy, the company noted that 96% of Corbett’s 2004 $87,288 in other compensation — a term companies use to describe a wide range of payments — was an annual stipend provided to “facilitate involvement in community activities.” Given that Corbett made over $3 million last year in salary and bonus, it seems a bit odd to ask investors to ante up for his volunteer activity too. After all, CEOs have long been involved in various civic groups and local charities and some probably even consider it their obligation, rather than a paid gig. Based on the proxy, Corbett is the only executive with this sort of arrangement. So what types of activities is KerrMcGee paying Corbett to volunteer for? This press release from a civic organization in downtown Oklahoma City — one which plans to present an award to Corbett on May 20 — lists a few. Perhaps KMG will also pay for the tuxedo he’ll need to wear to accept the award.

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