Executive Compensation (Pay), is financial compensation received by an officer of a firm. It is typically a mixture of salary, bonuses, shares of and/or call options on the company stock, benefits, and perquisites, ideally configured to take into account government regulations, tax law, the desires of the organization and the executive, and rewards for performance.Over the past three decades, executive pay has risen dramatically relative to that of an average worker's wage in the United States, and to a lesser extent in some other countries. Observers differ as to whether this rise is a natural and beneficial result of competition for scarce business talent that can add greatly to stockholder value in large companies, or a socially harmful phenomenon brought about by social and political changes that have given executives greater control over their own pay.Executive pay is an important part of corporate governance, and is often determined by a company's board of directors.
Levels of compensation
The levels of compensation in all countries has been rising dramatically over the past decades. Not only is it rising in absolute terms, but also in relative terms. In 2007, the world's highest paid chief executive officers and chief financial officers were American. They made 400 times more than average workers -- a gap 20 times bigger than it was in 1965.The U.S. has the world's highest CEO's compensation relative to manufacturing production workers. According to one 2005 estimate the U.S. ratio of CEO's to production worker pay is 39:1 compared to 31.8:1 in UK; 25.9:1 in Italy; 24.9:1 in New Zealand.
The explosion in executive pay has become controversial, criticized by not only leftists but conservative establishmentarians such as Ben Bernanke and George W. Bush
The idea that stock options and other alleged pay-for-performance are driven by economics has also been questioned.
Defenders of high executive pay say that the global war for talent and the rise of private equity firms can explain much of the increase in executive pay. For example, while in conservative Japan a senior executive has few alternatives to his current employer, in the United States it is acceptable and even admirable for a senior executive to jump to a competitor, to a private equity firm, or to a private equity portfolio company. Portfolio company executives take a pay cut but are routinely granted stock options for ownership of ten percent of the portfolio company, contingent on a successful tenure. Rather than signaling a conspiracy, defenders argue, the increase in executive pay is a mere byproduct of supply and demand for executive talent. However, U.S. executives make substantially more than their European and Asian counterparts.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked publicly traded companies to disclose more information explaining how their executives' compensation amounts are determined. The SEC has also posted compensation amounts on its website to make it easier for investors to compare compensation amounts paid by different companies. It is interesting to juxtapose SEC regulations related to executive compensation with Congressional efforts to address such compensation.
A company is required to file its annual proxy statement with the SEC no later than the date proxy materials are first sent or given to shareholders. You can see this filing by using the SEC's database, known as EDGAR. To access the EDGAR database, go to the SEC's web site - www.sec.gov - and find the section entitled "Filings and Forms (EDGAR)." Click on "Search for Company Filings." When you get to the screen entitled "Search EDGAR Database," click on "Companies and Other Filers." Then enter the name of the company and then click "Find Companies." Select the appropriate company to view its SEC filings.
Click Here: SEC Website 
To view the annual proxy statement, select the most recent filing that has the title "DEF 14A." It's called a "DEF 14A" because it's the "definitive," or final, proxy statement. "14A" refers to the fact that proxy statements are filed pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
See also Wall Street Bonuses.