Why Japanese Executives Deserve Lower Pay

After four years working at a senior level for a Japanese giant, I think the notion that U.S. executives earn too much, compared with Japan, is really wrong, when viewed from a shareholder's point of view ("How much Japanese CEOs really make," Top of the News, Jan. 27). An American CEO functions as an individual, while the Japanese CEO is only one member of a group.

When was the last time you saw a Japanese executive (of any rank) travel alone, attend a meeting alone, or make a decision alone? Of course, they have to pay each executive less because they have so many more to pay: more salaries, more country clubs, more chauffeurs, more hours in nightclubs, more first-class travel, and more company-jet time. Seems to me that it works out about the same as paying a few people a large sum.

At least a U.S. executive can make a decision in a hurry. The Japanese planning process makes Congress look like a fast-moving operation, although admittedly they do keep at it day and night, year in and year out.

Al Forbes

Mountain View, Calif.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE