Despite the recent requirement for companies to disclose more about executive compensation, a majority of corporate directors still feel that chief executive pay is out of control, a survey showed on Monday.
According to the survey from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and Corporate Board Member magazine, 67 percent of directors believe U.S. corporate boards are having trouble controlling the size of CEO compensation.
"Most directors think that their own company is doing a good job, but there would appear to be some kind of disconnect with the view that the problem is somewhere else," said Catherine Bromilow, a partner with PwC and leader of its U.S. Corporate Governance Group.
"There may be some reluctance to look in the mirror, as opposed to pointing fingers other places," she added.
The survey, which culled results from nearly 760 board members, showed a slight uptick in the number of directors that felt CEO pay was out of control. In 2006, that figure was 66 percent of directors polled.
In 2006, the average chief executive of a Standard & Poor's 500 company received $14.78 million in total compensation, according to an analysis from The Corporate Library.
Under new disclosure rules that went into effect this year, public companies must reveal more details of their top managers' pay and perks.
But the directors polled revealed they dislike this idea slightly more now that it is in effect, although a majority applaud it.
About three-quarters of the directors polled said the disclosure of senior management compensation in the proxy was a positive step, down from more than 80 percent that held that view in 2006.
In terms of curtailing excessive CEO pay, 41 percent of directors said Boards of Directors and compensation committees needed to take a firm stand to promote change. Another 31 percent of those polled said pressure from stockholders and institutional investors could make a difference.
However, the directors did not believe shareholders should have a vote in approving CEO pay packages. More than 90 percent of the directors polled opposed such a plan.
"Perhaps its really the recognition that at the end of the day it still does come down to the board, and in particular the compensation committee, to decide how to reward executive appropriately," Bromilow said.
(Reporting by Emily Chasan, editing by Brian Moss)