AIMCO President and CEO Terry Considine's salary is slated to fall by a third in 2008, coming in between $3 million and $4 million (inclusive of his base salary of $600,000). That's less than the Denver-based company originally projected Considine would earn?last August, they said his earnings would fall between $4.5 million and $6 million. Meanwhile, Atlanta-based Post Properties President and CEO David Stockert was to receive a $420,000 bonus in 2008, but the payment was canceled.
Coincidence? No. Because of the economy, these executives and others across the sector are watching the economic climate impact their personal bottom lines. In a report prepared for MultifamilyExecutive.com, Steven H. Hall Partners, an executive compensation consulting firm based in New York, reports that the value of equity holdings for the average REIT CEO was almost $15 million. That's down from $30.6 million from the end of fiscal year 2007?a 51 percent decline.
"Everybody is in a bit of a struggle at this time," says Steven H. Hall, senior managing director of Hall Partners. "Stock values are way down. Bonuses are challenged in many companies. You see some bonuses that are clobbered, and salaries may be the only thing they're getting this year."
Some CEOs in other industries are taking voluntary cuts, but Hall says this is more the exception than the rule. "I wouldn't worry about being knocked over in the rush of executives looking to do that [take voluntary pay cuts]," Hall says. "Executives that do [take pay cuts] either felt, from a leadership point of view, that this is the right thing to do because times are tough and they want to set an example. Or, times are tough at their company, and they have to take cuts along with other people."
Though private sector CEOs are feeling the squeeze, too, Ed Pettinella, CEO of Rochester, N.Y.-based Home Properties, thinks public CEOs often take a bigger hit in these times.
"The public company feels it more because you have a base of shareholders," he says. "The stock is more broadly held than at a private company. You have to be more rigorous and more formula-driven on compensation. With that, will come more gyrations in the compensation package."