America may not get justice on outrageous executive pay but the Swiss might. They are having a national vote on excessive CEO pay.
With more than 100,000 Swiss citizens having signed a petition to limit “fat-cat” pay, voters will decide at a March 3 referendum whether top executives should have their compensation set by shareholders.
Switzerland believes excessive CEO pay was imported from America.
The vote is the brainchild of Thomas Minder, a Swiss lawmaker and managing director of herbal toothpaste business Trybol AG, whose petition blames highly-paid “fat cats” -- “Abzocker” in German -- for the financial crisis. If successful, the proposal will give shareholders an annual ballot on executives’ pay and block big payouts for new hires and for managers when they leave companies.
“Shameless executive payouts have very clearly come from the U.S.,” said Brigitta Moser-Harder, an activist shareholder, who owns shares of the country’s biggest bank UBS AG and largest engineering company ABB Ltd. and regularly speaks on the subject at annual shareholder meetings and on Swiss TV. “People have been outraged about high earners for years.”
Imagine if the United States has national ballot initiatives as some states currently do. We might actually get somewhere in stopping some of the outrageous and damaging things our government is always up to.