Proxy Governance Inc. has recommended that shareholders withhold their support for the board of directors at Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), in light of excessive executive compensation in the face of operational underperformance.
Tyson has underperformed its peer group over the past few years, and Proxy argues that the company's management has not done enough to respond to industry challenges including increased feed costs and export restrictions on beef.
In 2007, Tyson stock declined in value while Richard Bond was paid $24.6 million. Tyson says that "it's apparent they haven't done all their homework." But I think that a CEO getting paid $24.6 million while presiding over the destruction of shareholder value is indicative of a compensation committee that hasn't done its homework: Proxy estimated that Tyson chief executives have been paid 82% more than CEOs at other companies in the peer group.
Executive pay is, as a whole, so out of touch with reality that any company that is overpaying so egregiously that it gets the attention of a proxy advisory firm really doesn't have a leg to stand on. Hopefully Tyson shareholder will send a message to the board.