Visa CEO netted $24.2 million in 2013 fiscal year

Charles Scharf received an award of $13 million and $6 million in options as a golden hello upon becoming CEO

CEO payouts continue to shoot up, as CEOs saw their pay increase nearly 9 percent in the 2013 fiscal year. According to a December Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Visa Inc. CEO Charles Scharf is one of the lucky beneficiaries, taking home $24.2 million in the 2013 fiscal year.

According to the SEC filing, Scharf received a one-time stock award of $13 million and $6 million in options as a "golden hello" in connection with his 2012 promotion to CEO. Those funds are in addition to Scharf’s $950,000 base salary, $3.6 million under the company's annual incentive plan and $1.5 million in stock options and other compensation according to Bloomberg.

Scharf took over as CEO from Joseph Saunders, who retired from Visa in November 2012. Scharf previously worked at JPMorgan Chase, where he headed the bank’s retail business. Visa’s SEC filing says that Saunders received $9.7 million from the company upon his exit.

In-house counsel need to be aware of the decision-makers behind these sorts of payouts. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of company executives and investors indicates that both parties are in alignment over the main sources of influence for an executive compensation.

Both segments believe that compensation consultants are “very influential” over board decisions on executive compensation, with directors at 41 percent and investors at 37 percent. The two sides said institutional shareholders were “very influential” at 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively. However, investors were 38 percentage points more likely to say that CEO pressure was “very influential” in executive compensation than directors.

When dealing with shareholder disputes, these large CEO payouts often come into play. And Scharf has more ground to cover in securing profits, especially after a court in early December approved a multibillion dollar settlement between Visa (and rival Mastercard) and a class action suit of retailers over transaction fees.


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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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