By Deborah Hargreaves
Wages for the majority have been stagnant for decades, but a lucky few have enjoyed a pay bonanza. Top company bosses take home in several days as much as most people earn in a whole year. In Are Chief Executives Overpaid? Deborah Hargreaves explains why pay for the top 0.1% has sky-rocketed in the past 20 years. She gives a devastating account of how it has created a vicious circle that destabilizes our economy and undermines social cohesion, demolishing the twisted logic of the chief executives who say: ‘I’m worth it’, when that means raking in £70m a year. A rigorous exposé of the dysfunctional nature of our ‘winner-takes-all’ economy, Are Chief Executives Overpaid? debunks the myths behind top pay and examines a range of pragmatic solutions.
About Deborah Hargreaves
Deborah was the Chair of the independent High Pay Commission, and Founding Director of the High Pay Centre from 2011 to 2015. She is the former business editor of the Guardian, a post she held from 2006 to 2010. She has written extensively about executive remuneration and other business issues both in print and online. She previously worked at the Financial Times where she was news editor and before that, financial editor. She held a variety of posts over 19 years at the FT including personal finance editor and as a foreign correspondent in Brussels and Chicago.
Anthony Hilton on Evening Standard wrote:
"Hargreaves amasses devastating data to prove that performance-related pay massively outpaces all rational measures, and that rewarding failure is routine. [...] Hargreaves makes a strong case that the cost of excessive pay is so much more than money. Economic growth and democratic institutions both decay in periods of gross inequality. Meanwhile, attempts to toughen corporate governance have largely failed: they have been too weak, prey to unintended consequences, or are hijacked by civil servants. Yet Hargreaves sees reason for hope, discerning growing support for higher tax rates."
Dame Kate Barker on SPE - Society of Professional Economists wrote:
"the trouble with Hargreaves’ book is that, though it articulates the problem, its solutions are not likely to come to much. She does, for example, hold out hope of greater stakeholder governance but it is unlikely to happen any time soon. Basically she pleads for sanity, which may be a lost cause."
"This short book has two aims – first: to convince the reader that Chief Executives (CEOs) are indeed overpaid and why that matters and second: to propose solutions. I am not convinced that it is fully successful in either - probably because it is more of a polemic than a careful analysis."
- Why overpaying chief executives is a bad idea - Deborah Hargreaves on LSE Business Review, 11 January 2019
- Podcast interviewing Hargreaves on the book, 31 March 2019
Interview with Deborah Hargreaves
A 5-minute interview with Hargreaves on the same topic as the book from 7 years ago, in her capacity back then of Chair of the independent British High Pay Commission:
Table of Contents of Are Chief Executives Overpaid?
- Chapter 1: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
- Chapter 2: Just Deserts?
- Chapter 3: Why Top Pay Matters
- Chapter 4: Corporate Governance Fights a Losing Battle
- Chapter 5: What Can Be Done?