This Holiday Season, Don't Forget to Set a Little Aside for Orange County's Millionaire CEOs

Underpaid Orange County CEOs must pull themselves up by their suspenders.
Underpaid Orange County CEOs must pull themselves up by their suspenders.
Photo by flickr user Transguyjay

The quest for a year-round homeless shelter in Orange County has been delayed yet again. Nonprofits that feed the needy are scrambling to come up with enough food for holiday meals. In these globalized, post-recession, stagnated wage days, the lines of sorry souls in need of assistance just keeps growing.

But as we head into Thanksgiving and Christmas, forget about those people. For those who are really hurting are Orange County's CEOs, who are desperately trying to make ends meet on an average annual salary of $1.8 million.

That sobering statistic comes from Cal State Fullerton's Center for Corporate Reporting and Governance, whose OC Corporate Governance Bulletin identified the top-paid chief executive officers in Orange County, ranked according to industry.

Orange County's CEOs "are relatively underpaid if you compare them nationwide," Vivek Mande, the center's director and CSUF White Nelson Diehl Evans professor of accounting, told The Daily Titan.

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Mande went on to explain that nationwide the annual CEO pay is "more like four to five million dollars. The median CEO pay in Orange County has not grown as fast as nationwide."

Hah! Get in line behind me ... er ... I mean ... Orange County's Dickensian dwellers of the upper suites do fare better in individual industries. Pharmaceutical, bio-science and life science industries CEOs here earn a median pay of more than $5.6 million yearly. For insurance, banking and real estate officials, it's $4.6 million a year.

That's more in line with the national average for all industries but also consider that OC's corporate governing guttersnipes must stretch out those millions in one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

So next time you're heading down Jamboree toward PCH, don't be surprised if you see a sad sack in a pressed Valentino suit standing on the median and holding a sign that reads, "Buddy, can you spare a couple hundred thou." Sure, he may just walk what you hand him over to Gulfstream for his daily fix of A. H. Hirsch Reserve (neat!), but don't judge until you've walked a mile in his Louis Vuitton wingtips.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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