Investment Underground decided to look at nine overpaid CEOs from various industries and examine the companies they're presiding over. Here's our commentary on each:
Colgate-Palmolive's (CL) Ian Cook. The CEO of the worldwide leader in personal hygiene received $14.2 million last year. We think the stock could well remain a favorite of the NYSE with the stock selling at $81.35 at the time of writing. We value shares at $91 using a 9% cost of equity. Also attractive is the dividend yield. This consumer products company recently raised its dividend by 9% and is payable to shareholders as of the April 21st Ex-Dividend date. The 2.87% current yield is reasonable given the recent run-up and a 5 year growth rate of 13% looks promising. We consider Colgate one of the best dividend stocks in the S&P 500,
Raja M. Parvez is the high profile CEO of Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN). A technical engineer from Polytech New York, Parvez has a pristine record of hands-on commitment to optic and communications technology from his 1984 debut as a consultant for Lucent Technologies to his arrival at Rubicon in 2006. At $28.08, Rubicon stock is on a steadfast rise. Parvez has made over $2.16 million in executive pay in 2010. The market cap currently stands at 668.18M, with a float of 18.73M shares, of which 10.04M are short. As of February 28th, 2011, the short interest was 86.00%. RBCN is the target of short sellers because of an overall increase in pricing and drop in demand. We think the company's performance will rebound, however, due to the recent quake and tsunami disaster, as the Japanese market will demand additional supplies of diodes, optoelectronics, and high tech optics.
Rick Waddell of Northern Trust (NTRS) counts as his clients almost a quarter of the country's wealthiest families. The $3.69 billion revenue cumulated in 2010. A decrease from the year before. Northern Trust has always been a sure value ever since its creation in 1889, already basing itself on guarding the assets of the most prosperous. In 2008, he addressed the graduating class of the Kellogg School's MBA program, saying "The fundamental values that we founded the company on are service, expertise and integrity." This same expertise guaranteed him a $12 million at the end of 2010. As the stock slowly but surely decreased in value over the last five days to plummet down to% 51.75, Investment Underground's recommendation to sell is matched by the 11% decrease in sales revenue. It's time to see how much you trust the leadership position of a self-professed champion of integrity.
Larry Ellison is as much of a celebrity as Oracle Corp's (ORCL) stock currently is on the market. His enviable $70 million executive pay was a 17% decrease from the year 2009. Despite counting Steve Jobs as a close friend – the computer mogul took his wedding photos back in 2004 – Ellison is mostly a rich magnate with a fluctuant love life. Currently the fifth richest person in the world, Ellison could obviously retire from Oracle's presidency happily ever after, with a financial legacy to be proud of. We assume his recent break-up with the world's sixth largest yacht in the world, the Rising Sun, would be his biggest failure so far. Registering a 9.70% income growth, the stock sells at $33.80 apiece and is currently a highly recommended buy with most Wall Street analysts. Oracle's market cap is 155.41 billion and its dividend yield (rate) is 0.20 (0.6%). Oracle initiated its dividend in 2009. The last dividend date was on Jan 14, 2011. We think Oracle has the potential to increase its dividend, funded by 25 billion in cash on its books.
AT&T's (T) Randall Stephenson is doing well so far. The giant of American telecommunications, the genius that struck a monopoly deal with Apple, declared $20 million executive pay for the fiscal year 2010. AT&T closed at $30.31, a bit below our fair value estimate of $31.00 per share. Shares trade at a P/E of 8.8, P/B of 1.5, and P/S of 1.4. The industry averages are 16.1, 2.0, and 1.4, respectively. From 2001 to 2007, T shares traded at a P/S of 2.9, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 1.9, 2.2 and 2.2, respectively. In 2010, EPS was $3.35, which was an increase of 58.02%, after decreasing by 1.85% in 2009. The company expects mid-single digit EPS growth or better in 2011. Q1 2011 results are set for release on April 21.
Robert J Stevens has been at the head of weapon manufacturer Lockheed Martin (LMT) for 11 years. A former US Marine and Polytech New York alumni (like Parvez), Stevens was granted a comfortable $19 million payment for 2010, allowing him to be nominated one of the "TopGun CEOs" by consulting firm Brendan Wood International. Beyond the alleged (yet unverified) ability to sing Righteous Brothers songs at board meetings, Stevens was also mentioned in Forbes' list of best managers in 2009, capable of a 7% total return over the course of six years. What could Stevens ask for more as the head of one of the most prominent companies in the most prominent sector of industry in the United States? We model fair value at $94 using a 9.5% cost of capital.
Nabor Industries (NBR) holds the peculiar and perhaps unrequited distinctive trait of an unreliable up-and-down financial curve. Eugene Isenberg, the lucky CEO cumulating a total compensation of $23 million in 2009, can however brag and boast about a 479% income growth over 2010. An Exxon alumni, Isenberg is no stranger to the oil industry and made a serious impact, enough to have the prestigious University of Massachusetts at Amherst name its school of management after him. The company holds over 600 rigs in the United States. In 2011, non-GAAP EPS is forecasted to be between $1.51 and $1.92, according to analysts. In 2010, the actual non-GAAP EPS was $1.13. Also, the company expects 50-60% growth in non-GAAP EPS. The next earnings release is on April 18, when the Street expects between $0.29 and $0.38. In comparison, Q1 2010 produced non-GAAP EPS of $0.21.
In the same vein, enters Ray Irani, of Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY). Back in 2006, oil prices helped him pocket over $460 million. At the age of eighteen, Irani already held a bachelor of science from the American University of Beirut. A member of the powerful Council of Foreign Relations, Irani is the perfect example of the combined assets of oil respectability and knowledge of international affairs. Irani is the second highest paid CEO according to the New York Times, only outdone by Viacom's chief executive Philippe Dauman.With the oil prices still reaching for the sky surrounding the crisis in Libya, it is fair to say Irani is looking at yet another world record of compensation for 2011.
We have kept the best example of an overpaid CEO for last. If most of the aforementioned men deserved their position, if not the whole of their salary and combined bonuses for redistribution purposes, the last of this breed is one major exception to the rule. Abercrombie & Fitch's (ANF) Mike Jeffries has long been a question mark in the common sense of presidency rules. His first business venture collapsed due to over expansion, a malady often taught in business schools. In 2007, in a piece for salon.com, Benoit Denizet-Lewis reports that Jeffries wanted the century-old A&F brand to "sizzle with sex." However, the company just sizzled: in 2009, Jeffries was mentioned as one of the "highest paid worst performers," after the ANF stock collapsed from $79 to $23 over twelve months. Jeffries' contract with the company is set to expire in 2014. If not renewed, the "personal life" section of his Wikipedia page mentions that he will not be bored. The California man tends his garden when he's not crashing companies. The section mentions, “His compost is simply crudular." Which says a lot about his tenure as A&F CEO.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.