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Lenovo CEO Shares $3 Million Bonus With Workers

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the giving-them-a-taste dept.

The Almighty Buck 169

hackingbear writes "Yang Yuanqing, founder and CEO of Chinese PC maker Lenovo, will share $3.25 million from his bonus with some 10,000 staff in China and 19 other countries. 'Most are hourly manufacturing workers,' Lenovo spokeswoman Angela Lee said. 'As you can imagine, an extra $300 in a manufacturing environment in China does make an impact, especially to employees supporting families.' In its annual review last year, Lenovo raised Yang's base pay to $1.2 million and awarded him a $4.2 million discretionary bonus and a $8.9 million long-term incentive award. Yang owns 7.12% of Lenovo's shares, equivalent to about $720 million in stock."

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169 comments

Philantropy (-1, Troll)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 8 months ago | (#44741435)

It's easy to be a philanthropist when you're rich. Just sayin'

Re:Philantropy (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#44741457)

It's easy to be a philanthropist when you're rich. Just sayin'

Its also easy to not share your wealth with your workers.

Re:Philantropy (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 8 months ago | (#44742461)

Its also easy to not share your wealth with your workers.

It depends of company structure. For instance Huawei [wikipedia.org] is owned by its employees. Here the CEO cannot choose to give back some wealth created by employees, he just have to.

Re:Philantropy (2)

Ixokai (443555) | about 8 months ago | (#44742649)

You sure about that? Huawei's status as an employee-owned company that it calls a "collective" is dubious; in theory it is owned by its employees, but its management structure is opaque and it is only rather recently that they even admitted who their board of directors were -- and its totally unclear how much real ability the employees have to accomplish anything.

The CEO of Huawei, the guy who founded it, is hugely secretive and has strong ties to the Communist Party. As do most of the other known bosses. Its politically useful (especially at the time it was founded) for the Party and the Chinese to think of Huawei as a collective, even though there's no real evidence its anything but. Doing so has allowed the state to support Huawei in circumstances it normally wouldn't be inclined to do politically.

Now, I don't buy into the Huawei conspiracy theories, but c'mon.... you're reading too much into "employee-owned".

Re:Philantropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44743047)

That is so communist! we should boot Lenovo from the US! Oh, wait, they are already in Communist China!

Re:Philantropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741497)

Given your use of a computer and access to the internet, I'm willing to bet a sizable part of the world population considers you rich. Just sayin'.

Re:Philantropy (2)

multiben (1916126) | about 8 months ago | (#44741557)

I'm betting that if he had sent the company into a tail spin and taken a $3billion parachute you'd be on here commenting about what a dick the guy was. Can he do anything to please you, or are you a serial whiner?

Re:Philantropy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741985)

Can he do anything to please you

Bring back the trackpoint and PCMCIA-port.

Re:Philantropy (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#44741737)

Not as easy as you think. First you have to get over yourself. That's HUGE when you're rich because you tend to think you're better than those below you and your status and ability to rise to your level convinces you of it. So, no it's not as easy as you think. In reality, it's easy to imagine being generous when you don't have much to give.

Re:Philantropy (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 8 months ago | (#44741925)

In reality, it's easy to imagine being generous when you don't have much to give.

Bingo. Being rich insulates you from understanding hardship, the most generous people are generally the ones who can least afford it because they experience some level of poverty on a daily basis.

Re:Philantropy (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#44741971)

If I had mod points you'd get one. It isn't hard for us in the middle class to be philanthropists, either. I wonder how much the OP has contributed to ease people's suffering?

Re:Philantropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742857)

>> If I had mod points you'd get one. It isn't hard for us in the middle class to be philanthropists, either.

Oh sure, like your lousy mod points count as philanthropy.

Re:Philantropy (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | about 8 months ago | (#44741895)

No its not, you dont get rich by sharing to begin with.

I beg to differ. Most of my money is from being (2, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#44742329)

There are a few really good reasons not to do business with me, but I've always had as many clients as I can handle. Most of my money (over a million dollars) has come from people who choose to do business with me BECAUSE of what kind of person I am.

When they see me being generous with my time and money, they know I'm the type of person they want to do a deal with.

Secondly, without a generous and grateful spirit, you can have $200 million and not be nearly as rich as someone with a spirit of gratitude and generosity who earns 1/10th as much.

Sure, it's POSSIBLE to get a lot of money by being obsessed with money. Some people do that. It's EASIER to get rich by being of service, solving people's problems. Who would you rather buy from, someone who is obsessed with getting your money, or the other guy who is trying to help you solve your problem? If you were really good at what you do, which of those people would you choose to work for?

You don't get rich spending money FOOLISHLY. Every rich person I know is generous, applying the same wisdom to their giving that they apply to their business. (Disclaimer - generous people are over represented in the list of people I know because I don't hang out with, or do business with, scumbags.)

Re:Philantropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742423)

I got me an interesting fortune cookie which I kept here over my notebook, 'cause it says something interesting -- quite opposite to what is the common sense you just wrote (namely, "you don't get rich by sharing to begin with").

It goes like (translated): "Inner wealth: the more people come to share it, the bigger it becomes."

All this is beautiful, and I thought it brought some more light into my life -- actually, maybe that bakery owner is not in the business of making cookies after all... but then, there's also the open source phenomenon, which is an amazing way of generating wealth.

This guy might be smarter than most, and by giving a slice of what he has, he might as well attract more wealth to his country and to his own company. I, for one, am getting a progressively better image of Lenovo -- and they already were doing fairly good in the current desktop/notebook sales crisis.

Re:Philantropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742189)

It's easy to be a philanthropist when you're rich. Just sayin'

Have you ever heard of a poor philanthropist? I haven't.

Not the first time (5, Insightful)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 8 months ago | (#44741439)

I believe that he did this last year as well.

Good on him, especially considering that Lenovo has been quite successful recently in a contracting PC market

Re:Not the first time (0)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#44741743)

Let's see foxcom do that. Perhaps there will be fewer suicides while making apple things.

Re:Not the first time (3, Informative)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 8 months ago | (#44742383)

Let's see foxcom do that. Perhaps there will be fewer suicides while making apple things.

A list of Foxconn's customers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn [wikipedia.org]

Acer Inc. (Taiwan)[39]
Amazon.com (United States)[7]
Apple Inc. (United States)[40]
Cisco (United States)[41]
Dell (United States)[42]
Google (United States)[43]
Hewlett-Packard (United States)[44]
Microsoft (United States)[45]
Motorola Mobility (United States)[42]
Nintendo (Japan)[46]
Nokia (Finland)[40][47]
Sony (Japan)[8]
Toshiba (Japan) [48]
Vizio (United States)[49]

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742867)

I know this may be embarrassing to you, but Apple was in that list you just posted. Perhaps while in haste to discredit the post you replied to, you missed it.

Re:Not the first time (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 8 months ago | (#44742465)

If I recall correctly, Foxconn increased worker wages dramatically a couple of years ago. Partly under pressure from Apple. Another interesting fact is that the suicide rate amongst Foxconn is actually lower than the Chinese national average

Re:Not the first time (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 8 months ago | (#44741789)

It's *definitely* better than nothing, but as the founder, CEO, and largest shareholder couldn't he just *pay* his factory employees better wages instead of turning it into a personal PR statement?

Re:Not the first time (4, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | about 8 months ago | (#44741825)

It's *definitely* better than nothing, but as the founder, CEO, and largest shareholder couldn't he just *pay* his factory employees better wages instead of turning it into a personal PR statement?

He could, but then if business started to get tight, he'd probably have to lay people off and/or cut wages; neither of which is particularly pleasant for people who were counting on money that it turns out they won't get.

By giving employees an unexpected bonus instead, he looks like a good guy while at the same time avoiding potential ill will in the future.

Re:Not the first time (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 8 months ago | (#44741939)

Except if "business" truly started to get tight they'd have to lay people off in the future anyway - $3M would be peanuts in a significant downturn for a company Lenovo's size.

Or better yet - give the employees their own bonuses. That way they know in advance they are guaranteed extra money if they do their job well instead of relying on the benevolence of their bosses. Like you said, it's his opportunity to look like a good guy. And from the limited info we have, he probably is a good guy. But he clearly wants people to know that...

Re:Not the first time (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#44741959)

By giving employees an unexpected bonus instead, he looks like a good guy while at the same time avoiding potential ill will in the future.

Only so long as the bonuses keep flowing. Once you've paid the Danegeld... stopping isn't so easy.

Re:Not the first time (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 8 months ago | (#44742885)

Only so long as the bonuses keep flowing. Once you've paid the Danegeld... stopping isn't so easy.

Okay, did you just seriously compare a CEO giving his employees bonuses with paying protection money to a hostile foreign power?

Re:Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742967)

I suppose that's how many other CEOs (esp in the USA) regard workers.

hopefully this sets a precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741441)

would be pretty awesome

confuciousnism leads to social responsibility (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741445)

unlike protestantism that just says "fuck you, i'm rich god loves me not you!"

Re:confuciousnism leads to social responsibility (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 8 months ago | (#44741631)

And is this CEO a Confucianist?

Re:confuciousnism leads to social responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741707)

No, he's a JEW! He just gambled away the company on housing derivatives and needs a bailout! Yeeehaw!

Re:confuciousnism leads to social responsibility (1)

spamchang (302052) | about 8 months ago | (#44742785)

You and I have very different ideas of what "protestantism" means. Sorry the "protestants" in your personal experience are all such jerks.

return what you don't deserve... (-1, Troll)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 8 months ago | (#44741449)

Psychology 101: never reward someone for not doing bad; only for doing good.

In this case, all he did was refuse to be so grossly overpaid.

In before 1000 Libertarians explaining that nobody works unless they're paid money, because nothing is important except accumulation of material tat.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741501)

Nobody works unless they're paid money.*

*Experience is as good as money, my interns benefit from my decades of experience in the industry, by making me coffee and archiving old files.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#44741563)

In before 1000 Libertarians explaining that nobody works unless they're paid money, because nothing is important except accumulation of material tat.

Libertarian here. His stock is worth $720M, and he only gave away 0.5% of that. If his generosity boosts morale enough to generate just 1% more profit, then he has doubled the money. He is publicizing this gift, so the workers are aware of the source, rather than giving anonymously, so he is at least partly motivated by greed. This looks like a smart investment.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (5, Insightful)

real-modo (1460457) | about 8 months ago | (#44741585)

If this is all about return on investment, why don't all CEs of multinationals do this?

Are they all that dumb? Are you saying they should all be sacked?

Re:return what you don't deserve... (2, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 8 months ago | (#44741605)

The 23rd curse of the Libertarian is to reduce everything to some meaningless effiiciency calculation which ignores any inconvenient factors. It's the kind of thing you do as a dorky 15 year old (or college freshman if you're remedial), but mostttttt people grow out of by college.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 8 months ago | (#44742477)

It's the kind of thing you do as a dorky 15 year old (or college freshman if you're remedial)...

...or as a successful CEO. Sorry, I know you didn't want that pointed out but it needed to be said.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#44741783)

Well, it only works if your employees are living in impoverished places to begin with. Like they said, it's only about $300 each. To a factory worker in China, that's a big deal. If Steve Ballmer did the same thing, it probably wouldn't be such a big deal, as they are a software company (mostly) and the majority of their workers probably don't see $300 as such a big deal. I mean, as a developer I would like an extra $300 at the end of the year, but it's not really going to change my life that much, especially after you subtract taxes.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741845)

Actually, I don't know about microsoft, but I know a lot of companies that routinely spend *way* more than 3.25 million in bonuses for non-executive employees. In fact, this may be the case for Lenovo as well, and the 3.25 million is just a portion of it.

The fact it comes via the CEO could be some genuine act of generosity, but it could equally be just a contrivance to provide more value to the dollar amount through the appearance of generosity (e.g. they might have budgeted the 3.25 million to be part of bonus pay for non-executives anyway, but decided to play a game where it is nominally 'CEO' bonus budget with full knowledge that it goes to the employees in order to get goodwill in the market and among their employees.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 8 months ago | (#44741787)

Maybe they just pay their employees more, instead of paying them less and "giving" them a portion of the CEO's bonus at the end of the fiscal year?

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741811)

Perhaps they will...

Basically, the CEO could have arranged things to be organized such that 'the company' allocated 3.25 million dollars directly as bonus (as is typical). However, it was arranged such that the bonus was granted in a way to make the CEO's role more explicit and personal.

Common practice assumes that the value of the bonus can be purely derived from the monetary amount of the bonus. However, this scheme may inspire more than just the nominal value. It clearly has had some effect. It is exceedingly routine for companies to allocate far greater values than 3.25 million dollars for typical bonuses, yet that routine doesn't grab headlines or goodwill. In the media, they have eaten up the bonus amount, despite not being that out of line for companies because of the logistics of granting the CEO explicit authority to give or keep the money.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 8 months ago | (#44741835)

Are they all that dumb? Are you saying they should all be sacked?

Works for me!

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741591)

You are totally right.

This is a rare occasion though. An a business decision thats good for the company/shareholders, good for the employees and doesn't affect the consumers negatively.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741593)

Libertarian eh? Didn't you used to work as a stooge for the federal government? You wouldn't happen to still be sucking that tax payer titty would you? Whenever somebody goes around proudly proclaiming what a big bad libertarian they are you can be guaranteed there is government titty sucking in their history...

Re:return what you don't deserve... (3, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | about 8 months ago | (#44741717)

Clicked on comments to come and see all the folks who'd make negative comments about him for this. You, among others, didn't disappoint.

There is no indication he's motivated by greed whatsoever, and it's either ignorant or wilfully destructive to cast such aspersions without some concrete evidence.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (2)

Jiro (131519) | about 8 months ago | (#44741957)

The reason folks are making negative comments is at least partly that it's an accounting trick. If the company had directly given the workers $300 bonuses, it would have been the same as if the CEO had been given millions of dollars and he then divided it up among the employees as $300 bonuses. But it wouldn't have made the news.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 8 months ago | (#44743057)

If the workers feel positive and more motivated about it then he's being a good CEO and leader. They know him from his track record whether it's just for show or that's just the guy he is.

A bean counter could pass the same amount of money to the workers without motivating them a bit. A bad boss could pass the same amount of money to the workers and make them feel cheated and negative about it.

You could use the almost the same words in a speech but with the wrong pauses, emphasis etc and produce far worse results than a good leader making a similar speech (when measured by content alone).

Anyway for a real generous guy check this out: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2012/09/18/chuck-feeney-the-billionaire-who-is-trying-to-go-broke/ [forbes.com]

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#44742551)

Clicked on comments to come and see all the folks who'd make negative comments about him for this.

Pointing out that something is mutually beneficial is not "negative". Life is not zero sum.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

black3d (1648913) | about 8 months ago | (#44742693)

"so he is at least partly motivated by greed" is a negative aspersion against him. I refered to this statement quite specifically. That the ultimate effect may be at least neutral has no bearing on the impropriety of your statement. Unless you have evidence that he's partially motivated by greed, then you can't build a case around that presumption. At best, you might say "he MAY be at least partially motivated by greed", but even then the rest of your statements about possible advantages for the company are at best supporting that hypothesis, rather than a being a defendable position of certainty.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#44742995)

"so he is at least partly motivated by greed" is a negative aspersion against him.

No it isn't. I already identified myself as a Libertarian, and we believe that greed is a force for good. So I was praising him, not criticizing him. If his workers benefit, and their lives are improved, then why is it "negative" if his company also profits? If someone does a good deed out of self interest, that is better than if they do it as pure altruism, because self interest is more sustainable and scalable. It is foolish to believe that if some wins, then someone else must lose.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741729)

Exactly. Hey, look how generous I am while I continue make an exuberant amount of money on off your backs!

Re:return what you don't deserve... (4, Interesting)

0111 1110 (518466) | about 8 months ago | (#44741849)

I'm a Libertarian who thinks corporations should be outlawed in current societies and denied any form of special privileges like limited liability or any form of personhood in a utopian free society. What were you saying again about grossly overpaid CEOs? I agree that they are grossly overpaid. I suspect that most of them could be replaced with someone who makes less than 100k per year no problem.

Even if the company made a little bit less money it would be good for the morale of everyone else if one person were not so ridiculously overpaid.

I think you have to be blind to not see that a corporation represents an unhealthy concentration of power in the hands of a few. Power corrupts. Also the behavior of a corporation is indistinguishable from that of an individual sociopath. The last thing we need is more sociopaths in our or any society. We certainly should not be encouraging them as we do now.

Companies, as in groups of individuals working toward a common goal, which should not be to make a pile of money in any way they can, but to produce a product or service they can be proud of, while hopefully at the same time earning enough to live comfortably, are themselves necessary evils because when they grow large they grow powerful even without limited liability or legal personhood, but there is simply no alternative that actually works. Human beings have to work together in groups to produce useful things. Government owned corporations are no better than privately owned ones. In fact they are usually worse.

You know what else is a necessary evil? Governments. That's why we Libertarians like to keep them as small as possible. In general I'd also like to keep companies as small as possible, but large companies also have advantages in terms of more affordable goods and services for poor people. Human beings simply don't behave as well in groups, especially in large groups, but I don't think artificially limiting their size makes sense in the way it does for governments. The economic advantages for the poorest members of society are simply too great. Nevertheless I think it would have great non-monetary benefits on society as a whole if all companies or organized groups of any kind were limited to no more than 100 people.

Are you sure you weren't thinking of a Republican. Some of you pro-government types get us confused so easily but we actually have very little in common. Some very minor common ground in economic theory with a small minority of them, probably the ones who call themselves tea partiers, and that's all.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742811)

You're not a libertarian. You're a bitter socialist who has hijacked the label "libertarian", because your previous label has a deserved reputation of being a complete failure.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | about 8 months ago | (#44742935)

I'm guessing that you are a Republican. Am I right? You clearly do not have the first clue about what Libertarianism actually is. First you have to learn to think in terms of principles. Then learn what 'voluntarism' means. Then note that Libertarianism is not about class warfare. Corporations behave like sociopaths. That sort of behavior is not good for society. The government helps and encourages them in this with the special privileges it grants them. The thing I hate most about Republicans is their anti-intellectualism and their militant pragmatism. Ideas are important. This country was founded on them.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44743039)

Haha, you are the %1. Libertarian ideals are funded primarily and promoted by the wealthy, that tells you you've been a willing dupe help push along capitalist ideology under principles that appealed to your psyche without being able to see through the BS.

The reality is the institution of money itself is a corrupting force in human affairs. Big government, small government, you'd just be exchanging labels for institutions, virtual (illegal) corporations would fill the power vaccuum left by big government if small government was ever achieved because governments rely on money from groups of people that have power. Those controlling groups would still be there. You can't enforce laws without resources and money. So the smaller your government, the more paper tiger your laws are (i.e. unenforceable).

More importantly, entrenched interests and entrenched populations with their ignorance and reliance on war economy is the problem and that is part and parcel of free market ideology. Any sizable markets beyond the size of a small town require states because they are expansionistic and because human beings are stupid and freely have kids as much as they want to without thinking about the consequences, hence our current world.

As markets expand, states naturally expand with them because the market is necessarily a state entity and must expand (because of money and proletarianization and specialization of the masses).

War is permanent under our current economic and psychological paradigm, no doubt tech and biotech will have to remake human nature and get it away from the old monkey code.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 8 months ago | (#44742831)

I tend to agree that we want small companies and small government to avoid the problem of having one entity that overpowers the rest.

The thing is, many endeavours require global supervision, global management. And I am not sure how to achieve that. Nuclear powerplants are ridiculously expensive. Phone infrastructure is ridiculously expensive. The LHC is ridiculously expensive. Very few people will argue we should not have build them. But with low power governments and companies with limited budget, I am not sure how to reach that. Also many things to be made cheap require a significant scale. I am not sure how that fits in.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about 8 months ago | (#44742987)

I tend to agree that we want small companies and small government to avoid the problem of having one entity that overpowers the rest.

My point was not about one group overpowering others. It was a more basic one about human psychology. The larger the group the more people seem to drop their own moral compass and substitute that of the group [wikipedia.org]. The larger the group the worse the individuals in it tend to behave. At least that is what I have observed.

As far as society needing large companies for certain things I do agree. My point is that it would be nice if we could figure out a way to avoid such concentrations of (economic) power. I don't think there is truly a practical way to do so however. The best we can hope for is to at least not grant such organizations any special privileges or special status. It is a group of individuals nothing more. It should be treated as such.

Re:return what you don't deserve... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#44741989)

In before 1000 Libertarians explaining that nobody works unless they're paid money, because nothing is important except accumulation of material tat.

Those aren't libertarians, they're money worshipers. And look at comments above mine to see how "Libertarians" worship money.

Let't reward this! (5, Interesting)

FrankHS (835148) | about 8 months ago | (#44741495)

Thanks for the info. I will make it a point to buy / recommend Leveno products. I want to reward this behavior.

Re:Let't reward this! (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about 8 months ago | (#44742965)

But if you do this, you're doing exactly what this $3 Million PR Stunt wants you to do! Don't let the man ... ugh, I'm too tired to think this argument through...

A little goes a long way for productivity (5, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 8 months ago | (#44741539)

The workers feel appreciated and will be diligent.

You don't happen upon good employee morale and company stewardship.

It has to be grown. Quality and waste will decrease. When employees feel zero empathy for the company or it's future, a fall is sure to follow.

Re:A little goes a long way for productivity (2)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 8 months ago | (#44741837)

Have you ever met a McDonald's employee with empathy for the company and it's future? Of course not. It's a shitty part-time job.

And yet that didn't stop the company from making over $5.5 billion last year. But I'm sure they'll fail real soon now, right?

Re:A little goes a long way for productivity (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | about 8 months ago | (#44741929)

One reason for that is McDonalds doesn't give a shit about their shitty product. The company itself has no pride. How can you expect individual employees to care? Profit sharing plans won't help when no one at the company cares about the quality of the product they make.I don't see the existence of companies which we all would be better off without as a failure of capitalism, but as a failure of humanity as a species. Unfortunately greedy, unprincipled members of our species will probably always exist. It would be nice if a better species overtook us just as we overtook Neanderthals. Perhaps one day sentient machines will do exactly that. If/when we reach the singularity none of this will matter.

Big difference from when IBM built the Thinkpad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741545)

IBM would have insisted that "Costs Must Be Cut" (TM); laid off 20% of the workforce, furloughed the remaining employees for a week, and announced record earnings per share.

Re:Big difference from when IBM built the Thinkpad (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 8 months ago | (#44741703)

Are the new Lenovo laptops any good? I saw some models recently and they all had the "chiclet" style keyboards -- not very good, not sturdy. Maybe IBM should have retained design of these laptops.

Re:Big difference from when IBM built the Thinkpad (1)

styrotech (136124) | about 8 months ago | (#44741801)

Are the new Lenovo laptops any good? I saw some models recently and they all had the "chiclet" style keyboards -- not very good, not sturdy. Maybe IBM should have retained design of these laptops.

I upgraded Thinkpads from an old IBM R51 to a Lenovo T530 with a Full HD IPS screen about 6 months ago. I'm very happy with it - even if it doesn't quite feel as sturdy as the old Thinkpads were they are still better than most other modern laptops.

I've got to the point where I'm kinda happy with the new keyboard too. And it had flawless Linux support too out of the box (I avoided the Nvidia optimus stuff and just went with the Intel graphics only).

Re:Big difference from when IBM built the Thinkpad (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about 8 months ago | (#44741893)

Lenovo branded laptops are the consumer line. The Thinkpads are still the business line and built quite well regardless of the changes that they have done to them. I say this as a constant ThinkPad user since the 600E.

Please notice the per employee amount. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741579)

$3,250,000 / 10,000 = $325 per employee.

Keep that math in your brain for the next "Overpaid CEO" argument.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (3, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 8 months ago | (#44741687)

I'm not quite sure what your point is. If you gave away $325 to individuals, how many people would you be able to be able to reach? Keep in mind that the $3m is less than one fourth his compensation this year.

That isn't to stray from the point that giving away personal benefits to his workers is something to encourage, no matter what the motivation was.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (3, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about 8 months ago | (#44741969)

His point is that despite all the doom and gloom stories about excess CEO pay, the amount of money the CEOs are making compared to the entire economy is peanuts. Here's a commonly cited paper" on CEO pay in the U.S [epi.org]. The average CEO here makes 273x more than the typical worker, with an average compensation of $14.1 million/yr. The horror!

But if you read the fine print, you see that it only looked at the top 350 companies. If we were to cut these CEOs down to size and confiscated all the money they made last year and redistributed it to the 145 million workers in the U.S., each worker would end up getting ($14.1 million)*(350 CEOs)/(145 million workers) = $34 each. If you divide it by the number of workers in the Fortune 500 (24 million), it's $205 each.

The authors of the paper came up with the methodology for tracking trends in CEO pay over the years. Unfortunately it's been hijacked and misreported to fit the narrative that CEOs in general are siphoning off substantial amounts of money our economy is generating, and if it were fixed everything would be much better. That simply isn't the case. While the top CEOs may make enough money to afford themselves a lavish lifestyle, in terms of the overall economic output of their companies it's peanuts.

If you want a better, broader measure of income inequality, you should be looking at things like Gini coefficient [wikipedia.org]. But "Income inequality 50% worse in U.S. than other Western countries" isn't as great a headline as "CEOs make 273x more than their workers."

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742199)

That would be correct, if the CEO was the only person that was over paid in each company.

The income inequality that you speak of comes from the top ~5% being over paid and there may be a another 10% that are paid a reasonable sum, so you take the top 1-5% and split it among the bottom 85% and it would be a lot more than $300 per person. I looked into this type thing in the past and it ends up being closer to $500/month per employee if you cut the top tier execs pay in half and redistribute.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#44741817)

Exactly. This kind of thing always bothers me. Even if you cut the CEOs salary in half, you aren't going to get much extra money in the hands of the employees. There's only one CEO, and thousands, or tens of thousands of employees. And extra $12.50 minus taxes on your paycheck (assuming paid every 2 weeks, 325/26) isn't even going to be noticed by the employees. I find the same thing about people complaining about how much senators or congress people are paid. The way I see it, the less they are paid, the more likely they will have to find other sources of money (corporate donations) and the less likely they will give the actual voters what they are asking for. There aren't that many of them, even if you paid them zero, very few tax dollars would actually be saved. Much more money gets wasted on less important things than a few people's salaries.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (3, Insightful)

Twanfox (185252) | about 8 months ago | (#44741943)

I have a different take on this matter. What exactly does a CEO do that provides so much more value to a company than an engineering team or assembly line laboring away at designing products? Sure, a CEO has a place and can be very instrumental in the effectiveness of the company, but then so too can a brilliant engineer or a factory foreman that can design the next Big Thing or improve efficiency because they know their work that well? Where are the brilliant engineers making CEO pay? Or the factory foremen? And don't think for a second that a CEO is so unique as to be irreplaceable. When a CEO is replaced, shockingly a company keeps running unless he is so bad as to drive the company into the ground. Being unable to attract good talented engineers or having your assembly line strike because of bad treatment can cripple a company just as badly as a bad CEO.

So, the lesson I'd like to give is that every level of a company, be it designers or sales or factory or CEO, has a place in a corporate team and no one entity is less crucial than the other. The only problem is that the CEO disproportionately earns that much more than everyone else. It is about time that the people that labor to make the products or to do the work, that serve as the face of the company moreso than the CEO does, share in the fruit of their efforts.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742545)

>What exactly does a CEO do that provides so much more value to a company than an engineering team or assembly line laboring away at designing products?

Newsflash: nerd has overinflated opinion of the importance of nerds; film at 11.

Try running your own business and maybe you might understand.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742733)

How is it overinflated? You chose not to answer the question, just mock him for asking it.

This said, I do think one thing being missed is that the designing the Next Big Thing tends to be paid a lot more than some other people who aren't designing the Next Big Thing, again out of proportion to the labour investment. The difference isn't quite so stark but it's quite significant still. Something like a Distinguished Engineer or Technical Fellow at Microsoft (non-management engineering ranks roughly equivalent to VP and CVP, respectively).

Capitalism happens to privilege some things out of proportion with the human labour investment. No, I don't have a perfect alternative to capitalism and I'm not agitating for its downfall, I just wish people would acknowledge its flaws rather than stating they are not flaws simply because they are a result of capitalism.

(the same argument basically applies with international wage differences, with some variance for local cost of living).

Also, this isn't quite the same as running your own business. For instance, this CEO owns ~7% of this business, and he won't lose his house if the company goes down (unless it's due to some legal liability).

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 8 months ago | (#44742651)

A good CEO can make a difference in a company. Getting a board of directors, shareholders, executives and employees all on the same productive page is not as easy as it looks. It's cat herding. And you can't just hire any dude with an MBA to do it. Demand outstrips supply. So they can get more money than the average person.

Then there are great CEO's. The stars or their profession. These guys are the super-athletes of their profession. Super rare. One way to look at it is they are pivotal. They might not do much themselves, but a shitload of work gets done because of them. They can mean an incremental millions or billions of dollars to a company.

And like super athletes, they know it and and get the big bucks. These guys are worth the money. Like movie stars and athletes, they might not deserve it, but they are worth it to some companies.

Unfortunately, good CEO's benchmark their salary against great CEO's and feel they deserve the big bucks too. And companies pay it assuming they are getting a great CEO because they are paying big bucks.

Worse than that, bad CEO's think they are great too. And demand great pay.

And why don't the brilliant engineers or foremen make that kind of money? They are perceived as easier to replace.

The alternatives to all of this is some sort of wage controls. Which has it's own set of perversions. Or give boards of directors the ability to act rationally. Or for people not to be jerks. Or some combination of these or something else.

No, I'm not advocating anything here. Maybe just understanding the mechanics of a problem. Makes it easier to tinker without unintended consequences.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (3, Interesting)

godrik (1287354) | about 8 months ago | (#44742121)

As someone that often comments on overpaid CEOs, I feel like I need to reply to this. There are many aspect to it and many different cases.

First of all, his salary (what ever you call it it is a salary) is not $3 million. It is $1.2M+$4.2M+$8.2M. That's actually more than 13 million dollar a year. I won't even talk about stock, because arguably it is not salary. (But let's be honnest, at these positions abusing stock options is not really difficult. Also you have a pretty good picture of where to invest.) He shared 20% of his salary. He could share twice that and still not really see a difference.

Now, putting it in context. The GDP per capita in China is $6,000 a year. So when he gave them $300 which is claimed to be nothing by GP but he actually increased their salary by 5%. If I received 5% more salary, I'd be quite happy. (Remember he could share twice that.)

Now, the CEO is paid that. But he is likley not the only executive paid a ridiculous amount each year. (Because the guy lives 50% of its time in China, see what you do for a million dollars a year in china?) There are other executives which could lose 20% of their salary without wondering how to heal their son's broken arm at the end of the month. It is difficult to know how many there are, but you probably can scrap another $3 million.

Then there is the fact that when the guy leave or get fired or whatever, he will get a leaving bonus of again millions of dollars. Often it is a bonus for the guy that screws up. So even if the guy does crap and screw up and get fired after a single year, he will still get more money than you and me in 10 years. And more money than 10 of these chinese worker in a lifetime.

Then I am not convinced that whatever the CEO does (I don't know this one in particular) is actually worth the salary they are paid. I understand you need a guy with the ultimate decision on everything. But that's pretty much the only thing he does. Because all the strategic informations and negotiation of contract is not done by him alone, but by an army of analyst, lawyers and tacticians. On top of that, he is pretty much liable for nothing.

He can get the money, I understand he takes it. But don't tell me you feel like it is fair.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (3, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 8 months ago | (#44741915)

Implying that a 3,25 million bonus isn't all that much because it would 'only' mean an extra $325 if distributed among employees can really only be the opinion of entitled, rich assholes who never have had to struggle at the end of the month. 8 years ago during my student years an extra 30 bucks a month would have meant the world to me. In Europe. And we are talking about mostly Chinese families here.
TEN THOUSAND OF THEM.

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (1, Insightful)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 8 months ago | (#44742107)

$3,250,000 / 10,000 = $325 per employee.

Keep that math in your brain for the next "Overpaid CEO" argument.

So, you're only argument is that at $325 per employee, the CEO is a bargain? That's a crap argument. Everyone knows that you negotiate for a car based on the the total cost, not the monthly payment. Most CEO's are well overpaid for the value that the bring to the table. What's worse is they get guaranteed money even if they are fired for failing. On top of that, if the is a public company, that's money being taken away from shareholder value.

As for the $$$ per employee, I'm willing to bet that $325 or even $12.50 per employee would end up in the economy much quicker than if it was given to the CEO, generating more economic activity. In fact, one of the reasons why the economy has stalled is because the middle-class is shrinking. "According to PolitiFact and others, 400 Americans now own more than 50% of the net wealth of the United States." -Wealth in the US Wiki Yeah, lets continue this trend by over-paying CEO's...

Re:Please notice the per employee amount. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 8 months ago | (#44742531)

When it comes down to it megawealth doesn't come from being a CEO so much as it comes from owning the corporation. A CEO is really just a very highly paid employee. The real wealth comes from owning the store.

A quick look at the Forbes top 400 and you find they are almost all store owners. Some may be CEO too, but these guys mostly founded the company their wealth comes from.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#page:3_sort:0_direction:asc_search:_filter:All%20industries_filter:All%20states_filter:All%20categories [forbes.com]

Psychology (2, Interesting)

zmooc (33175) | about 8 months ago | (#44741781)

This guy is the CEO. He could just as well have Lenovo give this bonus directly to its employees, which it will probably (have to) do anyway. Instead he's trying to make himself look good. Might be worth the trouble; the (apparently) kinder the CEO, the more loyal the employees. But this is not an act of charity; it's just a normal bonus with a well thought-out psychological plan behind it.

Yes... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741871)

And good journalism would analyze total bonus amount and base compensation and compare against other companies. From a rational standpoint, the amount is what matters, not the story behind it.

A Lenovo competitor giving 5% more base pay than Lenovo and allocating 32 million instead of 3.2 million would get less credit than this single act by failing to perform the same theatrics, in no small part due to the media lapping up this sort of stunt. It may be more generous than competitors, but without some actual investigative effort, we are left with this hollow data point.

Re:Psychology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741901)

Even if that is, so what? It turns out well for the workers, and is good press for the CEO. I don't understand why it has to be charity.

Re:Psychology (1)

zmooc (33175) | about 8 months ago | (#44742029)

I doesn't have to be charity. However, the implication that it is is what gets this on slashdot.

Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742095)

No. He is a CEO, not the single owner of Lenovo.
His personal money and Lenovo money is not the same.

What is he a communist? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741795)

He's giving part of his bonus to be distributed to his workers? That's the path to socialism!

don't care if he's got ulterior motives (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741863)

It's an act of generosity which he didn't have to do, for a company that puts out a laptop where Linux runs great. Lenovo was already probably going to get my next purchase based on how well Linux is running on this laptop (T61 purchased used FWIW), and this only makes it easier.

statists take note: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44741991)

when was the last time your fat cat union boss did something like this?

Negative commenters = morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742187)

First things first, he didn't assign himself this bonus, the board of directors awarded I it to him.

It's his money, and he choose to give it away to his employees. This is a vast improvement over 99.999% of CEOs.

He did this last year and we didn't hear about it. This is not a PR stunt. There are plenty of cheaper ways to get some good PR, almost all of which the company would pay for and he could keep his bonus.

Yes, it's a small fraction of his net worth, but we don't know his future plans. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would not make as much impact if Bill decided to give away all his money when he only had $5 million.

If he had raised salaries 10%, the board would likely have found a new CEO.

This is good news, not bad. He's a good person in this respect, not an evil scheming bastard.

Ob Simpsons Quote (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 8 months ago | (#44742749)

Actually forget if it's Simpsons or Futurama but "It's the amount of money our scientists have calculated that poor people think is a lot of money!"

CEO shares bonus with workers, Slashdot wants more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44742797)

I don't get it. A CEO shares wealth with his workers without them demanding it. But so many people here feel he should do more. Why exactly? Just because he earns more? He has already done what few here are ever going to do in their entire lives.

The fellow is working hard. He has led his firm to being the top PC maker today. He has not only kept the jobs of most people in his organisation secure, but they are almost certainly getting good raises. His brand's market share is increasing and shareholders are getting a good dividend in a climate where established PC makers are crumbling.

And there are some who want to know what exactly he does that is more important than a good foreman. Only someone who has never owned or run a business will say this. Workers are far more insulated from a business's performance than a CEO. A few bad quarters mean that the CEO's job is already at risk. The CEO does not have absolute authority over everything. He constantly has to convince the board of directors for every new move he makes, or every not-so-successful strategy he has to persist with. He doesn't just get to take home a fat salary and enjoy life. All the perks you see just make the fellow's life a little easier. The reason leaders get paid more is because of what they are. Leaders.

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