John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance

Executive Superstars Peer Groups and Over-Compensation

This paper is written by Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., Chair Charles Elson and Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., Fellow Craig Ferrere, discussing the cause, effect, and solution of Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Overcompensation.
The paper can be viewed in browser via the below link or downloaded without charge from SSRN here.

Browser View: Executive Superstars Peer Groups and Overcompensation – Cause Effect and Solution

Published in the Journal of Corporation Law, 2013

Below is a round-up of press coverage on the paper.

Below is a list of workshops participated in related to the paper:

· October 2012 Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere presented a workshop on the paper they co-authored, “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation: Cause, Effect and Solution,” for the ­­­­­­­­­ Department of Finance at the Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ

· October 2012 Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere spoke about their co-authored paper, “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation: Cause, Effect and Solution,” at the Corporate Institute and the Institute for Law and Economics of the University of Minnesota Law School

· October 2012 Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere did a presentation on their co-authored paper, “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect and Solution,” at the Blue Sky Workshop co-sponsored by the Center for Law and Economic Studies and Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy at the Columbia University School of Law in New York, NY

· October 2012 Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere did a presentation on their co-authored paper, “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect and Solution,” at the Friday Faculty Colloquium at the UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, CA

· August 2012 Charles Elson and Craig Ferrere gave a presentation on their co-authored paper, “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect and Solution” as part of the Department of Finance Seminar Series at the University of Delaware

Below is a list of conferences/speaking engagements participated in related to the paper:

  • National Association of Corporate Directors, Philadelphia Chapter: “Major Issues in Executive Compensation,” May 14, 2014
  • Conference Board, Executive Compensation Conference: “The CEO Pay Requirement,” May 8, 2014
  • Dominican University, Brennan Forum on Corporate Governance, Presenter: “Discussion of the Pay Ratio Between CEOs and Median Employees,” April 9, 2014
  • Equilar, Webinar: “2014 Peer Group Webinar,” February 20, 2014.  For a copy of the slides
  • Hansell, LLP, Luncheon: October 30, 2013
  • Grant Thornton: “Insights Looking Ahead to 2014: What’s next in a Say-on-Pay World?”
     September 30, 2013
  • National Association of Stock Plan Professionals.  “The Consultants Speak: Hot Topics in Executive Compensation,” September 2013
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section and the ABA Center for Professional
    Development, Webinar: “Challenging the Peer Group Bias for Executive Compensation,” June 27, 2013
  • Conference Board, Executive Compensation Conference: June 20, 2013
  • Center on Executive Compensation: “The Future of Peer Groups,” May 30, 2013
  • National Association of Corporate Directors.  “Effective Talent Management: thinking Beyond the Paycheck,” May 2013
  • Conference Board, Webinar: “Executive Compensation and What to Do When Peer Groups
    Don’t Matter,” May 16, 2013
  • Conference Board, Executive Compensation Conference: “Factoring in the Competitive
    and Economic Context – the Real Relevance of Market Trends and Best Practices,”
    May 15, 2013
  • University of Delaware, John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance:
    “Deemphasizing Peer Groups – What’s Next?” April 11, 2013
  • Mercer LLC.  Executive Compensation Forum, April 2013
  • American Bar Association, Spring Meeting, Business Law Section: “Challenging the Peer
    Group Bias for Executive Compensation,” April 5, 2013
  • Corporate Directors Forum 2013.  “CEO Pay: Groundhog Day or a new Day Dawning,” “Executive Compensation – Where Everyone is “above average.”  Really? New considerations is executive pay, “ January 2013
  • Conference Board, Director Roundtable: “Executive Compensation and the Utility of Peer
    Groups,” (a “debate” w/ Ira Kay), January 18, 2013 (video available at
    http://www.conferenceboard.org/directorroundtables/peergroups)
  • Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Midwest Regional Fall
    Conference: “The Problem with Peer Groups,” November 16, 2012
  • Tapestry Networks.  “Peer Groups:  Challenges and Opportunities,” CCLN Meeting, November 2012
  • Investor Responsibility Research Center Foundation, Webinar: “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect and Solution,” October 17, 2012
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Corporate Institute and the Institute for Law and
    Economics: “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect
    and Solution,” October 3, 2012
  • UCLA School of Law, Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy, Business Law
    Breakfast: “Executive Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect
    and Solution,”
    September 27, 2012
  • National Association of Corporate Directors, Southern California Chapter: “Executive
    Superstars, Peer Groups and Over-Compensation – Cause, Effect and
    Solution,” September 26, 2012
  • The Philadelphia Club.  “Punting Peer Groups:  Resolving the Compensation Conundrum,” Speaker Series, January 2012
  • University of Idaho Law School.  “Resolving the Compensation Conundrum,” Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, January 2012
  • Gonzaga University School of Law.  “Resolving the Compensation Conundrum,” Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, January 2012
  • University of Delaware, John L. Weinberg Center Compensation Symposium: “Punting Peer
    Groups: Resolving the Compensation Conundrum,” May 8, 2011
  • Conference Board, Executive Compensation Directors’ Forum: “A Discussion of Peer Grouping and its Role in the Compensation Process,” December 2, 2011
  • American Bar Association, Annual Meeting, Business Law Section: “Roundtable: Corporate Governance,” August 5, 2011

Below is a list of speeches, comment letters, books in which the paper was cited:

  • Statement of Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar, SEC Open Meeting, Providing Context for Executive Compensation Decisions, September 18, 2013
  • Meridian Compensation Partners, Report Commissioned by Canadian Banks, Review of Horizontal Benchmarking and Its Impact on CEO Compensation, 2014
  • Comment Letters, File S7-07-13, Pay Ratio Disclosure: Organizational Capital Partners, NEI Investments, PGGM, Quintave Managerial Leadership System, MVC Associates International, The Network for Sustainable Financial Markets, RPMI Railpen, AFL-CIO,  
  • Shareholder Proposals: at Con Edison, NiSource Inc., and First Energy by the Utility Workers Union of America; at Waste Management by the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission, Pay Ratio Disclosure, Proposed Rule, page 94
  • Equilar, S&P 1500 Peer Group Report: 2014
  • Ira T. Kay, Executive Pay at a Turning Point (2013)
  • Michael B. Dorff, Indispensable and Other Myths: Why the CEO Pay Experiment Failed and How to Fix It, University of California Press (2014)
  • David Chandler and William B. Werther, Jr., Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders, Globalization, and Sustainable Value Creation, Sage Publications, Inc. (2013)
  • Michael A. Hitt, et al, Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases: Competitiveness and Globalization, Cengage Learning (2013) 
  • Michael Armstrong and Stephen Taylor, Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management, 13th Ed., Kogan Page, Ltd. (2014)
  • Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2013)

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