American Express

Annual Meeting: May 2, 2016

Kenneth Chenault of American Express has been on our overpaid CEO list for the last two years. The fundamental problems remain this year: Chenault’s pay of $21,988,091 is significantly above peers and includes problematic elements including outsize salary and high retirement pay.

I’ve been surprised, personally, at level of support the advisory vote proposal received in 2015: 96.5 percent of shares were voted in favor. I expect this year will be different, the stock price has fallen significantly.

Total disclosed pay is down slightly, but not significantly. This year Chenault received no cash bonus but his stock awards were valued at $16.3 million compared to $12.4 million last year.

William Ryan, an analyst at Portales Partners LLC noted that pay at American Express is “high relative to the company’s subpar performance in 2015.”

This morning’s vote will provide an interesting look at whether rubber-stamp approval continues in these circumstances.