THOMAS AQUINAS CALLED IT GREED - Dominion And Dow Call It Merit, CEO Gets $7.2 Million

(03/19/2004)

OPINION AND COMMENT By Bob Weaver

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Greed: "It is a sin directly against one's neighbor, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking them... It is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, inasmuch as man contemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."

In America it is being a good corporate businessman who understands enterprise - getting rewarded by their associates.

The Dow Chemical Co. gave its top executive a $2.3 million bonus, a move that South Charleston Mayor Ritchie Robb says sends a “bleak message” to a community where the corporate giant has been cutting jobs for two years.

In addition to the bonus awarded in 2003, William Stavropoulos received a base salary of $1.3 million, plus millions more in other incentives and benefits, according to the company’s last statement.P> $2.3 million + $1.3 million = $3.6 million + millions more in stocks and other benefits.

Dow is one of the largest employers in the Kanawha Valley.

That's nothing compared to Dominion, which also serves West Virginia.

Executives of Richmond-based Dominion Resources Inc., parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, received huge increases in their compensation last year.

At the same time, Dominion has obtained and continues to make requests to the WV Public Service Commission for large consumer increases because natural gas well-head prices have increase.

While laying off hundreds of workers and increasing natural gas rates in West Virginia beyond affordability, Thomas E. Capps, Dominion's 68- year-old chairman and CEO, received a salary, bonus and other compensation of $7.22 million in 2003.

That is about 160 percent more than the $2.79 million he earned a year earlier.

Dominion raised Capps' base salary by 10 percent to $1.1 million, paid him a $1.43 million bonus and awarded him $3.99 million in restricted stock, among other compensation raises.

Dominion earned a profit of $1 per share in 2003, compared with $4.82 per share in 2002.

Nonetheless, corporate executives in Virginia got major boosts in salaries and perks.

President and Chief Operating Officer Thomas F. Farrell II earned $3.7 million in 2003, nearly three times his $1.29 million in 2002. Farrell was promoted to his current position during the year.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Thomas N. Chewning saw his earnings increase by 186 percent to $2.85 million in 2003. And Executive Vice President Duane C. Radtke earned $2.6 million last year, a 247 percent increase over 2002.

But, it's all in a day of doing business in corporate America, where millions of blue collar and white collar jobs are going abroad.


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