- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The chief executive officer at Wal-Mart was the highest-paid public company executive in Arkansas last year, according to an analysis conducted by an Arkansas newspaper.

Douglas McMillion, who took over the position at Wal-Mart in February, received a compensation package valued at $25.3 million last year. That’s about double what he received in 2012 when he was an executive vice president at the retailer, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1rfvPmr ).

The paper added salary, bonus incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation, and including the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year to come up with its list of highest-paid CEOs in the state.

Two Tyson Foods trailed McMillon by almost $5 million. Chief operating officer James Lochner earned $20.8 million in 2013, while chairman John Tyson received $20.5 million.

Neil Ashe, a Wal-Mart executive vice president, made $13.2 million, and William Simon, Wal-Mart’s chief executive officer of U.S. operations, made $13 million last year. Wal-Mart’s incentive packages are paid only if Wal-Mart meets performance goals.

Joshua Henke, managing director for Longnecker & Associates, an executive-compensation consulting firm in Houston, said the incomes are not uncommon for officers at large public companies.

“Those numbers are not out of line, even if you compare them nationally to similarly sized companies,” Henke said. “For those sized companies, that seems to be in the ballpark for what you would expect an executive at that rank to earn. And Wal-Mart is a worldwide company.”

Henke said high pay is also used to retain key executive. There’s been a push to retain senior executives and some middle management because of a talent gap, he said.

“As the baby boomer generation starts to retire, there is a pretty big gap between the senior executives in place and wanting to retire and those coming up through the ranks, from an age perspective and from an experience perspective,” he said. “Companies are trying to retain their senior talent as long as they can while they are training the up-and-coming younger generation.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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