Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Seven digits for big six

Tough times put scrutiny on CEOs

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It was a lucrative year for the leaders of local publicly traded companies, but will the economic downturn put them in the (relative) poorhouse a year from now?

Six CEOs of Winnipeg-based firms cracked the seven-figure mark in total compensation, tied for the most in the seven years the Free Press has examined the executive salaries and bonuses that public companies are required to release each year.

The highest-paid executive in the province once again -- but likely for the last time -- is Ray McFeetors, who is now chairman of Great-West Lifeco. He stepped down in the spring from the insurance giant's CEO position he had held for more than a decade, but not before pulling in $5.3 million in total compensation over the previous 12 months -- a record for a Manitoba-based CEO of a public company.

McFeetors' salary of $1.6 million would have been enough to place him No. 3 on the list, but he pulled in more than $3.5 million in bonuses, including $1.5 million for his role in Great-West's acquisition of Putnam Investments. That $4.6-billion deal made Great-West the 10th-largest player in the U.S. mutual fund business.

McFeetors earned $3.54 million the year before.

Only one other CEO, John Marinucci at New Flyer Industries, was able to crack the $2-million barrier, hitting $2.1 million in salary and bonuses. He will also fall off the list next year as he was replaced last month by Paul Soubry, the former president of Standard Aero.

The top five saw their compensation jump anywhere from 1.7 per cent (Blouin) to 170 per cent (Marinucci). Leonard Asper of Canwest Global Communications Corp., however, took a significant hit. His compensation fell by nearly 50 per cent to just over $1 million from more than $2 million a year earlier.

The salary information was pulled from management information circulars, which are released shortly before companies hold their annual meetings.

In compiling this list, the Free Press used the most recently released financial information. It varies from company to company because annual meetings are held at different points throughout the year.

Hugh Goldie, director of consulting at The Exchange Consulting Group, said it's far from a given that CEOs will make less money in 2009 as the impact of the economic downturn becomes better understood. Some could even earn more. The leaders who can steer their firms through the financial carnage will prove their worth and deserve to be compensated accordingly, he said.

"For the last 10 to 15 years, we've had (CEOs) making cakes from cake mix. You mix it up in a Mixmaster, bake it for 20 minutes and it's done. You couldn't lose. Everybody succeeded because of the economic situation. Now we have a different situation and it's not so easy," he said.

At the other end of the salary spectrum are four CEOs who didn't earn a single loonie from their firms. They all earn a salary from other business interests. Albert Friesen, for example, sits at No. 17 on the list thanks to his $272,500 compensation as CEO of Medicure Inc., but receives no money from three other companies on the list he leads.

Goldie said the economic downturn will likely cause changes in how compensation committees determine CEO compensation.

If the bottom line improves under a CEO's guidance, then the chief deserves a bonus, which can sometimes outstrip his salary, he said.

Only companies on the Winnipeg Free Press/Wellington West Capital Manitoba Index are included on the list.

Not every CEO has their salary published in their company's public documents. For example, Hartley Richardson, CEO of James Richardson & Sons Ltd., heads up one of the pillars of the Manitoba economy, but because the firm Richardson leads is a private company, his compensation does not have to be disclosed to the public.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca


How much do city business leaders earn?

Ray McFeetors, Great-West Lifeco

Annual salary: $1,591,666
Bonus: $3,530,000
Other compensation: $173,106
Total compensation: $5,294,772
Previous year’s total compensation: $3,540,470
Percent change: 49.6%
 

John Marinucci New Flyer Industries Inc.

Annual salary: $714,000
Bonus: $1,365,000
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $2,079,000
Previous total compensation: $769,126
Percent increase: 170.3%
 

Murray Taylor, IGM Financial

Annual salary: $706,667
Bonus: $740,000
Other compensation: $144,300
Total compensation: $1,590,967
Previous year’s total compensation: $1,331,801
Percent change: 19.5%
 

Pierre Blouin, Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.

Annual salary: $750,000
Bonus: $768,000
Other compensation: $67,500
Total compensation: $1,585,500
Previous year’s total compensation: $1,559,127
Percent change: 1.7%
 

Edward Kennedy, North West Company Fund

Annual salary: $583,077
Bonus: $620,714
Other compensation: $226,775
Total compensation: $1,430,566
Previous year’s total compensation: $1,358,938
Percent change: 5.3%
 

Leonard Asper, Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Annual salary: $900,000
Bonus: $153,780
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $1,053,780
Previous year’s total compensation: $2,063,745
Percent change: -48.9%
 

Armin Martens, Artis REIT

Annual salary: $600,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $600,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $450,000
Percent change: 33.3%
 

S.J. VanRoekel, Ridley Inc.

Annual salary: $307,200
Bonus: $257,820
Other compensation: $4,881
Total compensation: $569,901
Previous year’s total compensation: $444,265
Percent change: 28.3%
 

John Buhler, Buhler Industries

Annual salary: $540,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $540,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $0
Percent change: N/A
 

Keith McMahon, Arctic Glacier Income Fund

Annual salary: $301,666
Bonus: $192,000
Other compensation: $15,658
Total compensation: $509,324
Previous year’s total compensation: $379,832
Percent change: 34.1%
 

John Langstaff, Cangene Corp.

Annual salary: $358,846
Bonus: $109,545
Other compensation: $12,240
Total compensation: $480,631
Previous year’s total compensation: $422,058
Percent change: 13.9%
 

Terry Smith, Boyd Group Income Fund

Annual salary: $278,700
Bonus: $174,680
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $453,380
Previous year’s total compensation: $271,600
Percent change: 66.9%
 
 

Rob Stenson, Ag Growth Income Fund

Annual salary: $250,000
Bonus: $168,000
Other compensation: $7,500
Total compensation: $425,500
Previous year’s total compensation: $172,350
Percent change: 146.9%
 

Gordon Pollard/John Pollard, Pollard Banknote Income Fund (co-CEOs, both Pollards earn the same salary)

Annual salary: $289,205
Bonus: $2,277
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $291,482
Previous year’s total compensation: $291,851
Percent change: -0.1%
 

Dale Ginn, San Gold Corp.

Annual salary: $250,000
Bonus: $25,000
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $275,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $208,176
Percent change: 32.1%
 
 Albert Friesen, Medicure Inc.
Annual salary: $266,500
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $6,000
Total compensation: $272,500
Previous year’s total compensation: $295,333
Percent change: -7.7%
 
 K. Guy Nelson, Empire Industries Ltd.
Annual salary: $183,846
Bonus: $75,000
Other compensation: $9,930
Total compensation: $268,776
Previous year’s total compensation: $87,704
Percent change: 206.5%
 
 Michael Pyle, Exchange Industrial Income Fund
Annual salary: $208,400
Bonus: $50,000
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $258,400
Previous year’s total compensation: $286,446
Percent change: -9.8%
 
 Albert Cohen, Gendis Inc.
Annual salary: $250,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $250,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $250,000
Percent change: 0%
 
 Bob Cox, FP Newspapers Income Fund
Annual salary: $154,027*
Bonus: $18,228
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $172,255
Previous year’s total compensation: $350,553*
Percent change: -50.9%

(*Cox became publisher in July 2007 so his compensation figures are for a half-year each as editor and publisher. The $350,553 figure was earned by previous publisher, Andy Ritchie, in 2006.)

 

David Graves, IMRIS Inc.

Annual salary: $55,385
Bonus: $80,000
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $135,385
Previous year’s total compensation: $0
Percent change: N/A
 

Marieke Wijtkamp, OMT Inc.

Annual salary: $112,500
Bonus: $3,150
Other compensation: $4,800
Total compensation: $120,450
Previous year’s total compensation: $106,850
Percent change: 12.7%
 

Richard Rivet, King's Bay Gold Corp.

Annual salary: $120,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $120,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $120,000
Percent change: 0%
 

John Knowles, Wildcat Exploration Ltd.

Annual salary: $102,910
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $102,910
Previous year’s total compensation: $96,000*
Percent change: 7.2%

(*The $96,000 figure represents the compensation of former CEO Shlomo Prizant in 2006.)

 

Robert Granger, Copper Reef Mining Corp.

Annual salary: $100,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $100,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $60,000
Percent change: 66.7%
 

Douglas Reeson, Gossan Resources Ltd.

Annual salary: $0
Bonus: $20,000
Other compensation: $72,000
Total compensation: $92,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $86,000
Percent change: 7.0%
 

Nelson Shodine, Bird River Mines Inc.

Annual salary: $0
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $23,700
Total compensation: $23,700
Previous year’s total compensation: $21,600
Percent change: 9.7%
 
 Neil Sullivan, Mainstream Minerals Corp.
Annual salary: $15,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $15,000
No salary figure for previous year
 
 Harris Liontas, Novra Technologies Inc.
Annual salary: $15,000
Bonus: $0
Other compensation: $0
Total compensation: $15,000
Previous year’s total compensation: $15,000
Percent change: 0%
 

Cornelius Martens, All in West Capital Corp.

No compensation this year or last.
 

Albert Friesen, Diamedica Inc.

No compensation this year or last. (Genesys Venture Inc., a company controlled by Friesen, receives an annual fee of $200,000 for providing "certain business services.")


Arni Thorsteinson, Huntingdon REIT
No compensation this year or last.
 

Albert Friesen, Kane Biotech Inc.

No compensation this year or last.
 

Keith Levit, Lakeview Hotel REIT

No compensation this year or last.
 

Albert Friesen, Miraculins Inc.

No compensation this year or last.
 

Arni Thorsteinson, Temple REIT

No compensation this year or last.
 
 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 5, 2009 A3

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