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US Steel CEO Takes 83 Percent Salary Cut

Tue, 03/16/2010 - 9:31am
Sandy Shore, AP Business Writer

DENVER (AP) — United States Steel Corp. CEO John Surma's compensation package plummeted more than 83 percent last year as he took a salary cut and refused stock awards. The reduction came in a year the company struggled with withering demand for steel.

Surma, who also is board chairman, received total compensation of $1.5 million in 2009, compared with $11.1 million the previous year, according to an Associated Press calculation of figures disclosed in a recent regulatory filing.

The package included $1.13 million in salary for the full year. Surma took a salary reduction of more than 20 percent in July at his request.

He also received a cash bonus of $210,000 based on safety and environmental performance measurements.

Surma received $167,038 in compensation for life insurance and personal use of aircraft among other perks.

Citing the difficult business environment, Surma requested that he not receive long-term incentive awards of stocks and options, which comprised more than 60 percent of his compensation package in 2007 and 2008.

In 2008, Surma received $1.2 million in salary, a cash bonus of $3.25 million and $254,989 in other compensation. He also was awarded stock and options that the company valued at $6.4 million when granted in 2008.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year.

It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the SEC, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive's compensation in the previous fiscal year.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel closed plants and took other steps last year as the auto and construction industries and other customers cut back because of the recession.

U.S. Steel reported a net loss of $1.4 billion, or $10.42 per share, in 2009, compared with net income of $2.1 billion, or $17.96 per share in 2008. Revenue fell 54 percent to $11.05 billion from $23.8 billion.

The company's board said the base salary reductions remain in place this year but may be restored at a future date.

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