The CEO and four other top executives at Publix Super Market Inc. got pay hikes ranging from just over 3 percent to nearly 6 percent in 2018.
The increase in compensation was partly because the executives were paid less than their peers at other retail food supermarkets and partly because Publix’ financial performance was better than expected, a proxy filed Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.
Members of the Publix board of directors also got compensation increases last year.
Executive pay is closely watched in the business world. Most companies say increased executive pay is tied to improved corporate performance. Critics say it is an indication of widening income inequality in the United States.
Publix, the largest employer in the Tampa Bay area, is a private company but provides public financial information because its stock is owned by its thousands of employees.
Randall “Todd” Jones Sr., CEO, was the most highly compensated in 2018, with $2,476,061 in total compensation, including a $2,069,305 salary, $342,753 from an incentive bonus and $173,383 in retirement contributions. His total pay was up 4.4 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
Jones’ 2018 compensation was 127 times that of the company’s median employee, who made $20,383 in 2018. Publix has lots of part-time and seasonal workers, however. Jones’ pay was about 63 times the total compensation of the company’s median full-time employee, who made $40,818, the proxy said.
In comparison, the CEO of Kroger had $11.6 million in total pay in 2017, and the ratio of his pay to that of the median Kroger worker was 547 to 1, the proxy said. The CEO of Weiss Markets made nearly $2.7 million, with a CEO-to-median worker ratio of 164 to 1.
Other Publix executives named in the proxy and their total compensation for 2018 are:
- David Phillip, executive vice president and chief financial officer, $1.4 million, up 3.1 percent from 2017
- Laurie Douglas, senior vice president and chief information officer, $1.26 million, up 5.1 percent
- John Attaway Jr., senior vice president and general counsel, $936,548 up 3.7 percent
- David Bornmann, senior vice president, $675,207, up 5.7 percent
Publix directors also were paid for their work in 2018. In the first half of the year, they received a quarterly retainer of $18,500 for serving on the board, and additional payment for board committee service. The quarterly retainer jumped to $19,500 in the second half of the year, and payments for additional service also increased.
The Publix board will look different after the April 16 shareholders meeting.
Three long-time directors — Hoyt Barnett, Jane Finley and Charles Jenkins Jr. — aren’t standing for re-election because they are 72 or older, the age of retirement in the company’s corporate governance guidelines.
Shareholders will vote on a proposed new director, Jennifer Jenkins, a clinical professor of law and director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University Law School.