Executives at Kodak and Deere are now paying for their own home-security systems, says a Marketwatch report. The security tab for Google CEO Eric Schmidt fell 42 percent to $233,542 last year. The bill for FedEx CEO Fred Smith dropped 23 percent to $461,405, while the cost for Disney CEO Bob Iger dipped 9 percent to $589,102.
Since 2007, Google has paid $1.1 million in personal security expenses for Schmidt, FedEx has paid $1.5 million for Smith, and Disney has paid $1.9 million for Iger.
Compensation consultant Todd Gershkowitz of Farient Advisors said CEO security is not an egregious perk compared to goodies like country-club memberships, chauffeurs or taxes companies pay on super-sized severance packages for axed CEOs. But company-provided security "becomes an invasion of privacy, some CEOs don't want it, some accept it," said Gershkowitz, who considers CEO security expenditures more of an issue about risk than one of executive perks handed out by directors. He said he'd like to see more detailed disclosures about CEO security in proxies.
Deere and Kodak won't pay the bill for residential security anymore, according to the report. Starting this year, Deere said eight executives will have to reimburse the company for security services that had included "drive-by surveillance and response to security alarms" for certain executives by Deere's corporate security staff. Kodak paid a one-month bill of $876 for five executives, before dropping the perk in February 2009, the report says. Kodak, which lost $210 million last year, will still pick up the tab for CEO Antonio Perez.
CEO security tabs had been on the rise from 2006 through 2008 at Fortune 100 companies, according to Equilar, an executive compensation research firm. The security tab for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has climbed in each of the past three years. It rose 25 percent to $640,000 in 2009 due to "increased personal security details" and upgrades to Schultz's residential security systems, says the report.
Coke paid more to protect Jose Octavio Reyes, its top executive in Mexico, where drug violence worsened last year. His security bill, which comes with bodyguards and 24-hour residential security, rose 36 percent to $488,719.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Dell CEO Michael Dell are among the most-protected U.S. tech executives, says the report, noting that in the past three years, Oracle has paid $4.6 million for a residential security program that includes security guards at Ellison's residence. Dell has paid $3.2 million for bodyguards and home-security for its founder.