Directors Annual Comp Higher; Total Comp Slips

September 30, 2002 ( - Directors at US companies walked away with slightly more in annual compensation last year, but a slightly leaner amount of total compensation, a survey found.

The annual study by Executive Compensation Advisory Services (ECAS) of director compensation practices at 250 US companies found a 2% annual compensation hike to $57,028 during FY 2001 from $55,933.

According to the study, total compensation for directors declined 1.8% to $130,542 from $132,932. That decline reflects the heavy reliance on stock in director compensation packages and the declining values of most company stocks during FY 2001, ECAS said.

For the first time, the ratio of cash compensation to stock in directors compensation programs showed an increase in the cash proportion and a decline in stock.

The most recent mix was 35% cash to 65% stock. The stock proportion of director compensation has climbed dramatically from 36% in 1996 to 54% in 2000 to 67% last year, ECAS reported.

Annual compensation includes cash retainers and meeting fees as well as stock grants that vest in one year or less. Total compensation includes annual compensation as well as all forms of stock compensation.