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Tucked into the executive pay chart on corporate proxies is a skinny column labeled “other.” This is where companies list perquisites-the interesting extras that executives get on top of salary and bonus. Thanks to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent overhaul of rules on compensation disclosure, the perks column has become entertaining reading. The SEC’s new requirements-the agency’s first change in 14 years on the issue-are forcing companies to reveal the real cost of perks that often were undervalued. These extras can range from personal trips on corporate jets to tax payments, according to an annual survey of compensation for the chief legal officers of the nation’s Fortune 500 companies conducted by Corporate Counsel, an affiliate of The National Law Journal. Take the perennial No. 1 on the annual survey, Benjamin Heineman Jr., for example. General Electric Co.’s recently retired senior vice president for law and public affairs has topped the survey for the last five years, on the basis of his combined salary and bonus. But his extras were impressive, too. Heineman’s 2005 perks rang in at $244,284. More than half of this-$154,276-was spent on his personal use of a GE airplane. Companies don’t have to list everything that contributes to the total in the perks column, just items that account for more than a quarter of it. In Heineman’s case, the only other thing specified is $16,555 spent on his taxes. What was the other $73,453 for? According to GE’s filing, it could include the cost of financial counseling, or home security systems, or even GE appliances. Heineman is hardly alone in the friendly corporate skies. J.L. McGoldrick, the former executive vice president and general counsel of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., used a company plane for several personal trips in 2005. The perk cost the pharmaceutical giant $63,819. Frank Fernandez’s personal use of a plane owned by The Home Depot Inc. rang up at a comparatively cheap $32,781. The executive vice president, secretary and general counsel of the home improvement chain also received $25,000 in payments made under the supplemental executive compensation plan, $18,240 in preferential earnings on deferred compensation, and $42,979 in tax reimbursements. Fernandez’s total “other” compensation was $147,765. Healthy allowances Allowances are a thing of the past for most of us. But not for Viacom Inc.’s top executives. Founder and Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone, General Counsel Michael Fricklas and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Freston each received $6,549 in car allowance in 2005 plus $1,000 for car insurance. That doesn’t sound like much? That’s because the perk was terminated in July 2005. But Fricklas had other ways to get around on the company dime. Viacom spent $2,704 for his personal use of the company plane and $640 on car service. American Express Co.’s executive vice president and general counsel, Louise Parent, got a heftier allowance. According to the proxy, she received $35,000 as a “flexible perquisite allowance.” The total cost of Parent’s “perquisites and other personal benefits” in 2005 was $50,680. About $9,000 of this went to tax gross-ups, tax payments or tax reimbursements. Taxes affect everyone, but top executives get a helping hand. Robert Reeves, senior vice president for corporate affairs and law as well as chief governance officer at Anadarko Petroleum Corp., was reimbursed for tax payments to the tune of $12,948 in 2005. Altria Group Inc. helped its general counsel, Charles Wall, with taxes on retirement assets held in trust: $57,307 worth of help. He also received financial counseling services worth $5,214. And to make the trip to the accountant’s office more comfortable, Wall had the use of a leased vehicle worth $19,456. Wall’s total “other” compensation was $81,977. That’s on top of his salary, which was $965,308, and a not-so-shabby bonus of $1,875,000. Ira Dansky’s perks were anything but shabby. The GC of the Jones Apparel Group Inc. racked up $19,869 in discounts at the holding company’s swankiest emporium, Barneys. Although all Jones employees receive 40% discounts at other company-owned stores, the Barneys discount is restricted to company directors, top executives and Barneys employees. With 35% off, Dansky walked away with threads worth $55,588.

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