What CEO Compensation Looks Like Now
COVID-19 has changed how execs are viewed and paid
Nonprofit lawyer Jeffrey Tenenbaum has noticed a change in his workload lately. For most of his career, Tenenbaum, managing partner of Tenenbaum Law Group, always spent more time working on association CEO employment contracts than on CEO termination agreements. These days, though, he’s been spending an equal amount of time on both. And though he doesn’t have hard data on whether more association CEOs are exiting due to the pandemic, he’s seeing associations looking for innovative, turnaround CEOs—and perhaps casting off leaders who don’t fit that definition.
“There was a time when you could have a placeholder CEO, someone who’d kind of coast and keep the trains running on time, but who didn’t need to be a great innovator or great at strategic thinking, re-creating business models,” Tenenbaum says. “That’s not a luxury that any association has anymore. There’s a real need for strong, dynamic leadership, starting at the top.”
That situation presents a challenge, though: While demand has increased for the kind of innovative CEO who can earn top dollar, the current economic situation means that association are hesitant about lavish compensation plans. That puts more pressure on the CEO job candidate to be aware of the hiring environment and get guidelines established in their employment contracts.
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