Some corporate executives have seen their wealth soar this year, thanks to stock awards that have gained in value as the stock market rebounded from its plunge at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Edward W. Stack, the chief executive of Dick’s Sporting Goods, and William Lynch, president of Peloton, for example, are each sitting on paper gains of over $60 million on stock-based awards they mostly received in the first three months of the year, according to an analysis by Institutional Shareholder Services.
And Stéphane Bancel, the chief executive of Moderna, a drug maker developing a coronavirus vaccine, received options in February that have appreciated by nearly $30 million.
Some executives at companies that have been hit hard by the pandemic have still done well. In March, William J. Hornbuckle, chief executive of MGM Resorts International, gave up the remainder of his 2020 salary in exchange for restricted stock units worth $700,000, the amount of his forgone salary. After MGM stock recovered somewhat from the lows it plumbed in March, that grant is worth $1.3 million on paper — and all his 2020 awards have appreciated by a combined $4 million.
Not all executives have gains on their 2020 grants, because many companies have struggled in the pandemic. ISS found that 1,675 “named executive officers,” or the executives who appear in proxies, had gains while 1,388 had losses, as of Wednesday’s closing stock prices. The average appreciation was nearly $1.5 million and the average loss $827,000.
One reason stock awards have appreciated so much is that some of the grants were made when the stock market was close to its lowest point for the year. Of course, many executives are also sitting on gains on stock they got in earlier years.