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Tuesday 20 August 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Is TSTT CEO worth it?

THE EDITOR: The issue of the $180,000 monthly compensation package to the CEO of TSTT has drawn the stock responses from the usual quarters. Trade unionists and the “grassroots” are, as always, especially outraged. The trade union leaders have historically complained about “excessive” executive salaries from one side of their mouths, while from the other side they assert that, as managers of unions, no one should criticise their CEO-level salaries.

The Public Utilities Minister has defended the salary of Dr Ronald Walcott by arguing that the $180,000 is less than previous CEOs got and is, in any case, on the lower end for such a post. But all that is irrelevant.

The details of the post are certainly open to argument. Is Dr Walcott getting a proper mix of base salary and incentive pay? What kind of incentives would encourage performance – stock options, restricted stock options, stock appreciation rights? What kind of severance plan helps attract a CEO while not exposing the company?

But the only truly relevant criterion is what value Dr Walcott brings to his office as CEO. Does he increase the worth of TSTT by more than $180,000 a month or not? Since TSTT is now in a transition phase and in the red, this question cannot be answered today. But the market will, in the fullness of time, certainly provide a comprehensive and complete response, if the Government can stay out of the company’s way.

Elton Singh, Couva

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