Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said shareholders are harmed by rules that force companies to disclose the pay of top managers.
Executives who find that their colleagues are paid more may become jealous and press for higher awards, Buffett said Saturday at Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Neb., where the company is based.
“That’s a good reason for us not publishing the salaries of, say, our top 10 managers,” the billionaire said. “It’s very seldom that publishing compensation accomplishes much for the shareholders.”
Buffett was responding to a question about whether the company would disclose the pay of more executives. Publicly traded U.S. companies are required to reveal certain compensation information in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and insurance regulators collect pay data in some states.
Buffett, the world’s third-richest man, takes a $100,000 annual salary and is Berkshire’s largest shareholder. He said company leaders would be paid less if compensation were kept private.
“No CEO looks at a proxy statement and comes away saying, ‘I should be paid less,'” Buffett said. “American shareholders are paying a significant price because they get to look at that proxy statement each year.
–With assistance from Noah Buhayar in New York.