Coca-Cola CEO Got 25 Percent Pay Cut in 2009

Friday, 05 Mar 2010 03:08 PM

 

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The CEO of Coca-Cola Co. took a pay cut in his first full year in charge, getting less compensation than he did in 2008 when he was promoted midway through the year.

Muhtar Kent has been CEO of the world's biggest drinks maker since July 2008. For the first part of that year, he was chief operating officer.

In 2009, Kent got $14.8 million in compensation, which is 25 percent less than the $19.6 million he earned the previous year. During the transition year, Kent's predecessor Neville Isdell earned $23.1 million in compensation. All the totals are based on Associated Press calculations of total compensation.

Coca-Cola and its rivals have suffered falling soft drink sales in the U.S. Under Kent, Coca-Cola's 2009 profit rose 17 percent but revenue fell slightly. And the CEO warned that 2010 could be another year of volatile sales.

Still, falling U.S. sales become less significant as Coke expands internationally. As of the end of 2009, more than three-quarters of its total revenue came from overseas.

Kent's salary rose in 2009 to $1.2 million from $1.1 million, according to a proxy filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Instead of the $4.5 million bonus he got in 2008, Kent got a $5.5 million performance-based bonus that was tied to the company's performance.

The bulk of his pay in both years came as stock and options awards, but the value of those was far less in 2009. He got about $7.4 million in stock and option awards in 2009, versus $13.3 million in 2008.

The total value of his pay ultimately depends on the company's stock performance over time, since much of his grants were given as stock options. As the stock price changes, the options can drop in value or even become worthless.

The value of Kent's other compensation, a category that catches perks not usually available to the average employee, fell to $659,274 from $748,182. The amount he spent on personal travel on the company jet fell to $130,930 from $229,484.

Kent also got other compensation such as $166,481 for a car and driver, $102,741 for security, $171,000 for contributions to the company thrift plans and $73,502 for tax reimbursements.

Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, is the world's biggest seller of drinks, with brands such as Coke, Sprite, Fanta, VitaminWater and Dasani bottled water.

In an effort to offset the falling demand for soda in the U.S., the company said last month that it would buy the North American operations of its biggest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. The deal will give Coke more control over U.S. distribution and help it get new drinks on shelves more quickly to keep up with changing tastes. American consumers have shifted away from sodas to juices, teas and other drinks.

Coke's announcement followed a similar move by rival PepsiCo Inc., which bought its two biggest bottlers in a $7.8 billion deal.

In 2009, Coke's profit increased 17 percent to $6.82 billion from $5.81 billion. Revenue for the year dipped to $31 billion from $31.94 billion.

Coca-Cola also scheduled its annual shareholders meeting for April 21 in Duluth, Ga., near Atlanta. Shareholders will be asked to elect directors, approve an auditor and vote on four shareholder proposals.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonus, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the SEC.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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