Study Shows Executive Pay Increases

November 9, 2005 ( - Median compensation for non-employee directors of US boards is higher than last year in two out of three industry sectors, according to The Conference Board's study of outside director pay.

In manufacturing, median total compensation for outside directors is now $91,250, up from $72,750 in 2004, The Conference Board reports. The service sector is $81,875 this year, up from $70,000 last year. Total compensation for the financial services is slightly lower this year at $64,500, compared with $67,000 in 2004. Total compensation includes fees, retainers, committee pay, and all forms of stock compensation.

Other studies have reported on the effect of recent regulations in driving up director pay as well as retainers for chairs of Audit and Compensation committees (See Regulations Driving Director Compensation Changes ).

The Conference Board also found that median basic annual compensation (the mix of fees and retainers for board service plus committee pay) is up in all three industry sectors. Manufacturing increased from $50,000 to $59,150; financial services increased from $43,750 to $48,000; and services from $50,000 to $57,000, according to the Board’s announcement.

In addition, the Board found that median total compensation for US CEOs was higher in all industries in 2004, the latest year for which data is available. As other studies have found, stock option grants have decreased in size over the last several years, while restricted stock grants have been getting larger (See Stock Option Values Show Strong Decline ).

Total CEO compensation (salary, bonus and long-term pay) was highest in the construction industry at $2,836,000 and lowest in transportation at $803,000. Total current compensation (salary plus bonus) likewise was highest in construction at $2,032,000 and lowest in transportation at $673,000. Construction also paid the highest median salary of $730,000, and the lowest was computer services at $430,000.

The Conference Board report is based on data from 3,143 US companies in 14 major industries and reports the compensation paid to the five highest-paid executives. More information is here .