Position: Chairman and CEO, General Mills Inc.
Total compensation: $8,379,657 for the year ended May 31, 2020
Non-equity incentive pay: $3,710,100
Other compensation: $235,096
Exercised stock options: $2,189,199
Value realized on vesting shares: $1,003,595
New stock options: 162,943
Median employee pay: $77,414
CEO pay ratio: 205 to 1
Total fiscal 2020 shareholder return: 32.2%
Note: General Mills noted in its annual proxy filed on Monday that it was on track to deliver on financial goals for the fiscal year through its first three quarters. Then the pandemic hit and it finished the year by exceeding its financial goals for the year.
As a result Harmening was able to realize $8.4 million in total compensation during the year, up from the $4.6 million he realized in the previous year.
Most companies were negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but stay-at-home orders meant people were spending more time at home, cooking for themselves, and were reliant on many General Mills products, including flour for baking, boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizza.
As a result the company said it “significantly exceeded our initial annual targets.” The company exceeded sales, profit, and cash flow targets and Harmening was able to earn his largest annual cash incentive bonus, $3.7 million, in at least the last six year.
“Overall, our company performance in fiscal 2020 significantly exceeded our expectations and the annual company performance measures that were set at the beginning of the fiscal year,” the company said in its proxy. “While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in higher consumer demand across our major markets, superior execution and agility across the company, together with the strength of our brands, led to excellent in-market performance and strong financial results.”
Many CEOs whose companies have been negatively affected by COVID-19 have announced employee furloughs, layoffs or reduced work hours. CEOs and their management teams have announced voluntary cuts to their salaries as well. General Mills didn’t have to make those cuts and instead the board approved a $50,000 increase to Harmening’s base salary rate of $1.2 million effective Aug. 1. They also increased the annual incentive target for Harmening to 180% of his base salary, meaning he could earn an even larger cash incentive bonus next year.
The proxy for General Mills not only offers a brief recap of the company’s financial performance for the year it also includes a section that summarizes its corporate social responsibilities. That includes a section on its board compensation and diversity.