Dialogue - CEO Compensation

Business Ethics Quarterly 21 (4):679-691 (2011)
Abstract
Must CEOs Be Saints? Contra Moriarty on CEO Abstemiousness by Robert KolbIn this journal, Jeffrey Moriarty argued that CEOs must refuse to accept compensation above the minimum compensation that will induce them to accept and per­form their jobs. Acting otherwise, he maintains, violates the CEO’s fiduciary duty, even for a CEO new to the firm. I argue that Moriarty’s conclusion rests on a failure to adequately distinguish when a person acts as a fiduciary from when she acts on her own account as a person. Further, Moriarty’s argument assumes that the CEO knows this minimum level of compensation. However, we learn the suitability of compensation only through the market process of wage negotiation, not through some process of introspection. I conclude that a CEO who abstains from interfering with the board of directors and its compensation com­mittee is morally free to negotiate for the highest wage available
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