Progress CEO takes heat for pay

April 2, 2009 3:19:16 PM PDT
Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson pulled down $6.3 million in compensation last year.That includes $3 million in stock options, $950,000 in salary, and another $929,000 in bonuses.

As the economy has worsened, many have begun to question the massive salaries of corporate CEOs.

"It's just extraordinary that we are now giving people these high salaries and bonuses when there is so much suffering going on for people paying their bills," offered Al Ripley with the NC Justice Center.

Johnson was not available for comment, but Progress officials say CEO pay is dictated by a competitive market for senior executive talent.

"Executive compensation is market based. We compete on a global level for executive leadership of our company," said spokesperson Mike Hughes.

And Progress says CEO pay has nothing to do with rate hikes which are forced by fuel cost.

"An important thing about that is, by law, the company cannot make money off the price of fuel," said Hughes.

Others disagree, and say Public utilities need to scale back.

"It's outrageous you would be giving someone a million dollars in bonus money, while at the same time you would be increasing the rates that payers have to give to utility companies," charged Ripley.


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