CEO Cash Comp Falls Off 8.7% in 2008

October 6, 2008 ( - Median CEO total cash compensation decreased 8.7% in 2008, with the biggest decrease in the Software and Life Sciences/Biotechnology sectors, which saw decreases of 11.5% and 10.6%, respectively, according to a new survey.

The survey by theSyzygy Consulting Group found thatCFO total cash compensation declined 10.9% in 2008, with the Life Sciences/Biotechnology sector CFO taking home 18.7% less than in 2007, according to a news release.

The news announcement said aggregate employee ownership decreased 9%, falling to 15.14% of outstanding common share equivalents. Again, the Life Sciences/Biotechnology sector saw the greatest decline in 2008, with employee ownership falling back by 27%. Only the E-commerce/Internet sector showed a gain in employee ownership, advancing 25%.

The company reported that CEO stock option holding also declined by 4.2% in 2008, with the median CEO-non-founder holdings at 4.462% of the companies they lead. The Life Sciences/Biotechnology CEO-non-founders saw their equity stake drop by 13.7%. A CFO-non-founder now holds a median 0.914% of the company, a slight decrease from comparable 2007 holdings.

“Not surprisingly, the 2008 data demonstrates much of what we ve seen and heard in the Boardrooms,” reported David Broman, Syzygy s CEO, in the news release. “Board members, who are mostly investors and other venture capital firms, are pulling back excessive salaries and reducing overall stock option grants until they see real gains in revenue, profits and a clear path to shareholder returns.

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