Exec pay continues to reach new heights

by Atsushi Kodera

Staff Writer

While Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was raking in around ¥1 billion last year, executives at other listed companies in Japan were also making more money than ever amid the economic recovery.

Executive pay for fiscal 2013 announced as of Monday showed that Hajime Satomi, chairman and CEO of Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., took home ¥635 million, ¥52 million more than he made the previous year.

Sega Sammy is the holding company of pachinko machine maker Sammy and arcade game developer Sega.

Satomi’s compensation was followed by ¥384 million paid to the chief of a pharmacy chain operator and ¥380 million in compensation for the head of a moving company.

Although the amounts pale in comparison with Ghosn’s pay, 41 of the 449 companies that have submitted securities reports for the business year that ended in March paid remuneration exceeding ¥100 million to 72 executives, according to an interim tally by credit research firm Tokyo Shoko Research.

A total of 2,469 listed companies close their books at the end of March.

Since March 2010, listed companies have been required by a Cabinet order to disclose individual executive compensation of ¥100 million or more.

Yukihiko Okamura, president of prescription drug retailer Aisei Pharmacy Co., took home ¥384 million, ¥127 million more than he did the year before.

Haruko Tajima, the Sakai Moving Service Co. founder and director who died in October, made ¥380 million. Her pay had never before been disclosed.

Of the 72 executives topping the ¥100 million mark, 32 earned more than the previous year and 30 disclosed their compensation for the first time.

Among individual firms, trading giant Mitsui & Co. led the way with eight executives earning more than ¥100 million. SoftBank Corp., the telecommunications titan led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, and trading house Sumitomo Corp. each paid more than ¥100 million to four executives.

While all the numbers are not yet in for the last business year, two years ago more than 300 executives made ¥100 million or more — the highest number on record — thanks to improved earnings at large corporations due to the stock market recovery and the weakening of the yen, Tokyo Shoko Research said.