You don’t have to make millions to rate as an all-star greedster. You do have to be ruthless, self-absorbed, and insensitive to others. Here’s my list of the 10 greediest Americans of 2011.
10. Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart CEO
Duke takes home his millions — $18.7 million in the company’s latest fiscal year — by squeezing workers. He ended “premium pay” for the hours Wal-Mart workers have to put in on Sundays, eliminated profit-sharing, sheared health care benefits, and cut staffing levels so low, Retailing Today reports, that customers sometimes can’t find shopping carts because the store where they’re shopping has no employees available to collect carts from the parking lot.
9. Paul Hoolahan, Sugar Bowl CEO
The Sugar Bowl, one of college football’s top four postseason games, enjoys tax-exempt status and regularly touts its contributions to good causes. But Hoolahan’s favorite cause may be his own. He took home just under $600,000 in 2009, almost quadruple his $160,500 paycheck for the same job 13 years earlier. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl and its three “Bowl Championship Series” partners are contributing to charity only 20 cents from every $10 in revenue, the Arizona Republic reports.
8. Robert Iger, Disney CEO
His annual compensation topped $28 million last year, a neat 35-percent increase. In October, Iger picked up a new pay deal that extends his CEO contract into 2015 and then adds on a cushy final year as Disney’s “executive chairman” — at $2.5 million — to help him make the transition into retirement.
7. Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar CEO
In 2009, a year that saw only three U.S. corporations lay off more workers than Caterpillar, its CEO took home just under $3 million. His 2010 paycheck soared to $10.4 million. Caterpillar workers, meanwhile, have a new six-year contract that excludes wage increases and raises health care premiums.
6. William Weldon, Johnson & Johnson CEO
Weldon “restructured” this health care giant in 2007, slashing its quality-control program. For the next two years, a hiring freeze made replacing vacant quality positions almost impossible. In 2009, a flood of recalls began for company products from contact lenses to hip implants, but Weldon took home $25.6 million anyway. After those recalls and assorted other scandals, the company did finally trim his annual pay — to $23.2 million.
5. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO
In 2007, on the eve of the meltdown banks like Goldman did so much to hasten, Blankfein collected a $68-million bonus, the largest in Wall Street history. In 2011, Blankfein had a chance to hit the restart button. He didn’t. In April, Goldman Sachs revealed that Blankfein, after going two years without a cash bonus, had gobbled up $5.4 million in bonus cash for the bank’s latest fiscal year. And plenty more in stock and salary. His total pay: $19 million, about double his pay the year before.
4. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor CEO
After losing $30 billion over three years, Ford has gained back $9.3 billion. In reward, Ford handed Mulally $56.5 million in stock and then, a month later, announced that he pulled down an additional $26.5 million last year. That amounted to 910 times the pay of entry-level Ford workers.
3. Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO
The top exec at business software giant Oracle collected $77.6 million for the fiscal year that ended this past May 31.That piece of change added less than two-tenths of 1 percent to Ellison’s $39.5 billion personal fortune, the world’s fifth largest.
2. Don Blankenship, Former Massey Energy CEO
West Virginia investigators found Massey management directly to blame for the 2010 blast that left 29 miners dead at the company’s Upper Big Branch coal mine. Massey, the report charged, had nurtured a “culture bent on production at the expense of safety.” That culture paid off handsomely for Blankenship. He pocketed $38.2 million from 2007 through 2009, after raking in $34 million in 2005, and retired with a $5.7-million pension and $12 million in severance.
1. Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO
High-tech start-ups like the online social gaming empire Zynga typically attract talent by offering shares of stock. But Pincus had apparently concluded, with a multi-billion-dollar IPO pending, that he had given away too many shares. Pincus demanded that various employees “give back not-yet-vested stock or face termination,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Labor journalist Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the weekly Institute for Policy Studies newsletter on excess and inequality. Visit www.toomuchonline.org for more details about the year’s 10 greediest people.