Shareholder activists and federal regulators have thrown a record number of penalty flags at chief executives of late, complaining they're making excessive income for modest results. In a lot of cases, the scrutiny is overdue. But as you might expect, the attack often goes too far, undermining the incentive system that makes U.S. business practices the world standard. Rather than just pick on a few overpaid underachievers, how about some appreciation for the many well-compensated executives who deserve every penny of their seven-figure compensation packages? How about a hand for the turnaround artists and founding fathers who navigate their companies efficiently through the crazy maze of global trade by providing a great return on capital -- and doing it with integrity? If running a big company were easy, a politician could do it. You can't buy dimes for nickels.
Serving InvestorsHere are a few CEOs who defy the media stereotype by providing investors with both great economic and financial gain. They are deploying shareholder capital much more effectively than their peers, and their stocks are reasonably priced. I bet each of these companies will beat the indices this year. Tracy W. Krohn, W&T Offshore ( WTI - Get Report). In 1984, the Houston native, a petroleum engineer by education and training, capitalized the company that would become W&T Offshore with $12,000 of his own money. He started out with the goal of acquiring oil and gas properties in Louisiana swampland that would generate $25,000 a year in cash flow. After taking risks to explore in the Gulf of Mexico and withstanding industry busts when crude oil prices sank to $9 a barrel, his company is now generating $1 million in net revenue a day. The company has proven reserves of more than 5 billion cubic feet of natural-gas equivalent on 1 million acres in the Gulf. It's no wonder that W&T's return on capital, at 35.8%, is nearly triple the industry average.
|Four Companies With Superior CEOs |
|Company Name||Return on Capital||P/E||Market Cap||StockScouter Rating||% Chg YTD||1/21/06 Close|
|Choice Hotels (CHH)||65.7%||35.3||$2.9 B||10||9.1||$45.58|
|W&T Offshore (WTI)||35.8||11.8||2.1 B||10||7.7||31.65|
|KCS Energy (KCS)||22||12.5||1.4 B||10||17.1||28.36|
|optionsXpress (OXPS)||40.5||38.9||1.6 B||10||9.3||26.84|
|Source: MSN Money|