General Electric (NYSE:GE) seemingly tried to make news Monday when it filed that CEO Jeff Immelt bought 50,000 shares of the stock at $8.26. But for a CEO that makes $3,300,000 a year in salary alone, a 50,000 share purchase that amounts to just $413,000 doesn't really provide shareholders with much consolation. Now we all know that Immelt already owns quite a few shares of GE, but maybe if he put at least a million into the stock at these supposedly outlandishly-low levels, investors would feel confident that their CEO believes in the company.
Unfortunately, Immelt's purchase has already proven to be ill-timed, with shares closing out the day at $7.60. But by only purchasing 50,000 shares, Immelt has only lost $33,000 so far on the trade, which is less than a day's worth of pay for him when you include stock and pension benefits with his cash take home.
*This chart omits stock and pension compensation that more than doubled his salary in each of these years.
Remember when a CEO like Bob Nardelli of Home Depot got ridiculed after the stock declined by just 20% during his tenure? When CEOs like Nardelli or Chris Galvin of Motorola announced their departures, the stocks of their respective companies shot up the most in years. GE is now down roughly 80% since September 2001 when Immelt took over. It's unfortunate for Immelt, but will his only chance of ever seeing a gain on his 50,000 share purchase yesterday be when he gets fired or announces his resignation?