Pierre Bilger responds to the column published by Pierre-Yves Gomez on executive compensation

This is the first time I have read such a convincing article on the deep-set mechanisms explaining the kind of executive compensation abuse we have been witnessing.

You may be interested to learn that I authored a short book published in March 2007, where, without drawing on the enlightening scientific references you were able to cite, I wrote:

« That said, floating somewhere deep down was an awareness of a changing world, where the references were not the same as those prevailing at the start of my career. Actions did not lead to exactly the same outcomes. I had sought to build a European business with worldwide scope, the European challenger to General Electric, one of the leading trio of international corporations in their business sector. These ambitions, which I had taken seriously, and indeed implemented with success up until the technological-financial crisis, which had reached a tipping point in 2003 and which my successor was later expected to co-opt and run, had always been given a favourable hearing from analysts and investors attending my speeches. Their real focus, though, lay elsewhere, in giving value to action – an ambition that I shared, but not as the sole exclusive goal. Many of them considered that I was betraying my critical distance by accepting the pay conditions they were aware of through the publicity given, and which they saw as relatively modest, all things told. The truth of the matter is that they would have felt more at ease had I been more of a go-getter, had I fought harder for my share, and ultimately, had my actions fit better with their own performance model. Although I had always staked the interests of my successive shareholders first and foremost, whether there two of them or three thousand, towards the end of my career myself started telling myself that I would have earned more ‘respect’ from the industrials or the moneymen if I had also spent more energy looking after my own personal gain.

My feelings is that this insight, totally independent of your own – and drawn from concrete field experience, underlines just how sharp your analysis has been.

Best wishes,

Pierre Bilger

Downolad: remuneration des dirigeants

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