According to a new USA Today analysis, firms still pay for their CEOs to belong to exclusive country clubs. These memberships can cost as much as $125,000.
“In certain communities, business happens in that environment, and employers would say this is really a business expense,” Myrna Hellerman of Sibson Consulting, a compensation and business strategy firm, told USA Today. Country clubs are in the major perks category for CEOs that include stipends for investment planning, medical costs, cars, use of the corporate jet and other goodies. t’s a status symbol, and the justification is that it’s a business expense, so companies absorb the cost,” says Compensation Resources Managing Director Paul Dorf. “Whether or not that’s reality, … it’s another way of rewarding executives.”
But many companies are looking at these goodies as way too exorbitant, especially in such a recovering economy. Companies including Allegheny Technologies, Chesapeake Energy and Dunkin’ Donuts have stopped providing club memberships as a result of this.
However, it was the country club perk that drew a lot of controversy just a month ago for IBM. CEOs from IBM, AT&T and ExxonMobil are granted access to the Augusta National Golf Club, an all male club. But with Virginia Rometty being the new CEO of IBM, her sex presented a bit of a problem. Rometty attended the Masters tournament held at the club, but did not play (even though she is a golfer.) It was unclear if an invitation was extended to Rometty.