Executive Pay in Europe: Macron And LePen Speak Out Against The World's Executives

Posted: May 3, 2022

The subject of lofty executive pay has become a hot-button issue over the past few years in the United States. Executive pay packages have increased so quickly that sometimes the year-over-year increase in compensation is more than most Americans will earn in their lifetime. For example, Disney CEO Bob Chapek took home $32.5 million in 2021. This was nearly double the $14.2 million he made in 2020 and is a year-over-year increase of $18.3 million. It’s easy to lose scope when the numbers get this big, but Chapek essentially got an $18.3 million raise. If the average American hit the lottery and won $18.3 million, it would change their lives forever. But, for Chapek, it was just his yearly raise. Recently, it’s starting to become clear that high pay packages for CEOs are not solely an American phenomenon. Similar situations are playing out all over the world. In particular, two French politicians, President Emmanuel Macron and challenger Marine Le Pen have spoken out against top-paid executives at French corporations in an attempt to garner votes from French voters. Let’s see what they had to say. Macron Slams Stellantis CEO The CEO of Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, was recently approved for a total pay package of USD $21 million. President Emmanuel Macron described this executive pay package as “shocking and excessive”. He also went on to state that it’s not good for the country if one part of the population is facing purchasing problems while the other is receiving these types of enormous sums. For reference, CEOs in the United States earned a median of $20 million in 2021, according to CNBC. This means that Tavares's pay package was fairly average by American standards. It’s also lower than what top executives earn at rival companies like GM and Ford. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s still not excessive. Marine Le Pen’s Take Marine Le Pen also spoke out against high executive pay packages but avoided slamming Carlos Tavares in particular. She stated, "It's shocking but less shocking than for others.” She also mentioned that Tavares at least achieved good results, which builds a stronger case for his lofty compensation. Looking Forward Macron recently won reelection over Le Pen by a vote of 58.6% to 41.4%. He stated during his campaign that he wants to put a ceiling on executive pay packages. In his own words, he said, "We need to set ceilings and have governance for Europe that make these things acceptable. If not, society will explode at any given moment." Outside of the general unfairness of high executive pay packages, Macron believes that income inequality could actually cause harm to modern society. And he might have a point. Navigating the stances of government and politicians is one of many challenges that executive compensation consultants aim to solve. To learn more about maximizing executive compensation, visit our Contact Page, or contact us directly by email at fglassner@veritasecc.com or by phone at 415-618-6060.