A Third of Caterpillar Shareholders Rebuff Executive Pay Plan

June 11, 2015

Approximately a third of the votes cast by Caterpillar Inc. shareholders at its annual meeting opposed the company's executive-compensation policies, reports the Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for Caterpillar said results showed 66 percent of the shares voted supported the compensation plan.

In a recent letter to shareholders, the company defended its pay policies, saying that they tied compensation closely to performance and that executives deserved raises because they reduced costs and gained market share.

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman has benefitted from the company’s pay policies in past years. Caterpillar reduced a target for operating profit used in determining payments in 2014. The company exceeded that target, resulting in a bonus payment of $4 million for Oberhelman, up from $1.2 million a year earlier. His total compensation increased 14 percent to $17.13 million last year.

Caterpillar said that the target was “challenging” and required a substantial improvement from 2013’s operating profit.

Caterpillar released a statement promising to “maintain a dialogue with our stockholders” on issues of concern to them.

The company’s board also voted to boost its dividend by 10 percent to 77 cents, citing strength in its operating performance and balance sheet.

Source: The Wall Street Journal