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Critics of imperial pay taste success, pressure boards- LA Times- 5/15/05


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  • Critics of imperial pay taste success, pressure boards- LA Times- 5/15/05

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    Business news from the Chicago Tribune. Get money tips, stock market updates and the latest Chicago business development news.

    It's getting harder for imperial chief executives to hold on to power. That's raising hopes that the idea of imperial CEO pay also will soon be dethroned.

    Corporate reform activists, including those who have long campaigned against outrageously inflated executive compensation packages, have seen reason for optimism this year, with three veteran CEOs facing their denouements.

    Walt Disney Co. directors finally picked a successor to Michael Eisner, who in recent years had become a symbol of entrenched--and tremendously enriched--company management.

    In New York, Maurice Greenberg agreed to step down after nearly 40 years at the helm of insurance giant American International Group Inc., which is facing state and federal probes of its business and accounting practices. As with Eisner, Greenberg has been widely accused of operating his company like a private fiefdom and snubbing shareholder concerns.

    Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chief of WorldCom Inc. and an icon of 1990s-style executive greed, suffered a much more spectacular fall: He was convicted by a New York jury on accounting fraud charges related to WorldCom's 2002 bankruptcy.

    To their critics, all three men and their companies are textbook cases of what can go wrong when corporate directors fail to live up to their stewardship obligations.
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