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The CEO Pay Machine


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The former top CEO examines the scandalous and corrupt reasons behind obscene pay packages for corporate executives-and explains how this hurts all of us--and how we can stop it.

About the Author

Steven Clifford served as CEO for King Broadcasting Company for five years and National Mobile Television for nine years. He has been a director of thirteen companies and has chaired the compensation committee for both public and private companies. He holds a BA from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


"So what happened in America that so much is now lavished on the executive class? And does it matter? To the second question Steven Clifford, a former chief executive at King Broadcasting and now the author of "The CEO Pay Machine," responds with an emphatic "yes." The outsize income, he thinks, feeds inequality and mistrust in our democracy. In response to the first question he argues that a system of compensation has emerged over the past four decades that rewards mediocre executives by stiffing shareholders, employees and society at large."
--The Wall Street Journal

"As Clifford shows with clarity and wit, using plentiful real-world examples, the [CEO Pay] Machine has mechanically and inexorably made CEO pay escalation a mathematical certainty...Passionate, provocative, and eye-opening, The CEO Pay Machine offers a clear and informed explanation of one of the most controversial economic and ethical issues of our time, which is sure to prompt renewed debate about a topic currently at the forefront of the national conversation."
--800CEORead/In the Books "Clifford's book is enlivened by equal doses of whimsy and scorching rhetoric. But its main task is to pry apart the mechanisms by which companies enable CEOs to collect vast sums with little downside risk."
--Seattle Times "[Clifford] imagines a better future--one in which compensation packages would be simplified, CEO pay would be downsized, and incentives would be properly geared toward companies' long-term success...The issue of executive pay is sometimes dismissed with the argument that in a big corporation a few million more or less doesn't matter. But ...[distorted incentives do matter. And] as we saw in November, Americans are angry and have stopped trusting the system. [Licensed larceny in the corner office helped elect a populist demagogue to the White House]. One step to winning back trust would be to insist that CEOs be treated like other mortals."
--Fortune "A former CEO of two corporations shatters the myths and explains the stupidity regarding astronomical salaries at the top of the business world...a well thought-out, clearly written expose."
--Kirkus Reviews "An englightening and refreshingly candid look at the contentious topic of chief executive compensation."
--Publishers Weekly

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