CNN Does About-Face on CEO Pay
"America's CEOs are raking in big, huge, fat wads of cash," said CNN's Stephanie Elam on the June 11 "American Morning." More specifically, Elam was talking about Yahoo! chairman Terry Semel's pay from last year: $71.7 million.
Elam and "American Morning" host John Roberts then concluded that high CEO pay is justified as long as the company is doing well, the exact opposite of previous comments made on the show.
Elam: "At the same time, Yahoo! stock was down 35 percent last year and he [Semel] is still making more and more money."
Roberts: "It’s one thing to pay when a company’s doing well. It’s another thing to pay for failure."
Elam: "It seems like shareholders don’t mind if you make a lot while the company is doing well, but they don’t like it when it’s not doing so well."
But that sentiment is a direct contradiction to previous "American Morning" shows. When Occidental Petroleum Corporation's CEO Ray Irani was paid $400 million in 2006 after the company's stock went from $9 to nearly $50, the CNN team balked.
"Minding Your Business" fill-in Andrew Ross Sorkin speculated that the unions might go after the company because of the pay package.
"You think with a number like that they will. I've go to imagine," said then-anchor Soledad O'Brien.
Co-anchor Miles O'Brien also sarcastically said that it would be "hard to get by on that" referring to Sorkin's explanation that without stock options Irani would have made just $55 million.