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Minding Cisco's Pay Gap

A holder proposal urges an executive compensation review.

Cisco (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report chief John Chambers pocketed a $1.3 million cash bonus in the fiscal year ended in July, according to the company's proxy statement filed Monday.

The networking bigwig asked to waive a bonus increase and had his annual salary frozen at $350,000 for fiscal 2007.

But Chambers is not likely to be feeling the pinch considering his lucrative stock sales plan.

Cisco's energetic CEO rakes in about $149,000 a day in stock option green. In fact, since he launched his so-called 10b5-1 prearranged selling program, Chambers has pocketed $109 million in net proceeds by selling more than 9.4 million Cisco shares.

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lofty compensation has caught the attention of pay critics who seem to think some executives are disproportionately rewarded for their performance.

A shareholder proposal written by The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary points out that Chambers' total pay in fiscal 2005 was $62.8 million, while shareholder saw a 8.5% decline in the stock price for the same period.

The proposal notes the "pay gap between highest and lowest paid employees and weakened the connection between corporate performance and executive compensation." The shareholder group, based in Spokane, Wash., asks that Cisco review its executives' compensation rates and make modifications if they are found to be excessive.

For its part, Cisco urges shareholders to vote against the proposal.