Oil and defense CEOs hit the jackpot

The $3 a gallon shelled out by customers at the pump has lined the pockets of top energy executives, according to a report released Aug. 29 by United for a Fair Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies. Titled “Executive Excess 2006,” the report reveals a bonanza for what it calls “15 top petroleum profiteers.”

The report shows that U.S. oil industry CEO pay at companies such as Valero Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Marathon, EOG Resources and Apache shot up at the same rate as gas prices. Meanwhile, non-U.S.-based oil companies British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell paid their CEOs far less than their U.S. counterparts.

The report also looks at the 34 publicly traded U.S. corporations among the top 100 defense contractors in 2005 that received 10 percent or more of their revenues from defense contracts, including United Technologies, Health Net, URS, Engineered Support Systems International, and Halliburton. It finds a dramatic surge in their CEOs’ pay after Sept. 11, 2001, compared with the four prior years, with some raises totaling over 1,000 percent.

Defense executives’ pay has grown faster than either military contracts or defense contractor profits.

The report also points out that while minimum wage workers have lost 9 percent after inflation from 1990 to 2005, CEO pay has soared in the same period.

The report, which recommends solutions to narrow the wage gap, is posted on the web at www.faireconomy.org/EE06.