Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cathe Black: No Perk Left Behind

A day after the Daily News editorial board said Mayor Bloomberg should get the waiver to make Cathe Black chancellor of NYC schools just because he's, you know, Mayor Bloomberg, the Daily News reports she engaged in all kinds of corporate shillery:

As longtime executive pay czar at Coca-Cola, Cathie Black rarely met a perk she didn't like or a hefty compensation package she didn't approve.

Those free-spending ways could be a detriment for the would-be schools boss in a system where her patron, Mayor Bloomberg, just ordered up 4,300 teacher layoffs.

For 17 years, Black has been a well-paid member of Coke's board of directors, a tenure watchdog groups consider too long.

In the past nine years, she has run the board's Compensation Committee, which has awarded what many critics dubbed outsize pay, profligate perks and golden parachutes.

Bloomberg brands her a "visionary" and "business pioneer," but union critics and shareholder activists say Coke's lackluster performance compared with rivals in the past three years doesn't justify the pay levels approved on her watch.

"Cathie Black had the highest level of responsibility for making responsible compensation recommendations to Coke's board," said Brandon Rees, deputy director of the AFL-CIO's Office of Investment. "She failed to take advantage of it."

Black pulls down $195,000 annually for a part-time post on the Coke board, as well as an additional $300,000 a year for a part-time gig on the IBM board. Her big-bucks salary from Hearst Magazines isn't made public.

The world's largest maker of fizzy drinks pays CEO Muhtar Kent $18.8 million - including $659,000 in perks for jets, chauffeurs, insurance, "security monitoring" at home and financial planning to help with his taxes.


Black championed some of those sweeteners in a July 2008 letter to Kent: "You are required ... to travel exclusively on company aircraft both for business and personal travel ...

"It is also appropriate that your spouse and immediate family travel on company aircraft when accompanying you."

Eight months later, the Corporate Library, a research firm that ranks board performance and executive pay, lowered its rating on Coke from a D to an F.

Corporate Library criticized the "entrenched" nature of Coke's board, noting that seven of 14 board members, including Black, logged more than 15 years.

"All this raises concerns about board entrenchment, independence and commitment," the firm wrote, blasting the board without criticizing Black by name.

So Cathie Black is big on firing little people at her magazines, but Coke CEO's who do a terrible job managing their company she hands expensive perks to.

That's just like Mayor Bloomberg and the educrats at Tweed who are very big on laying off teachers, closing schools, and cutting school budgets all the while handing raises and other perks to themselves.

Given that Cathie Black likes to do the same thing, it looks like she'll fit right in.

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