Is executive compensation going to be flushed out of hiding?

For years companies have found ways to skirt rules requiring them to publicly disclose everything they bestow on their five best-paid officers. In January, however, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a sweeping new proposal that will not only close many reporting loopholes but for the first time will force businesses to add up each executive’s total compensation in a single number. Many general counsel could be affected, since according to Corporate Counsel research, the chief legal officer was among the top five executives at 190 of the Fortune 500 companies in 2004.