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Each week, WFAE's "Morning Edition" hosts get a rundown of the biggest business and development stories from The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.

CEO pay packages in Charlotte hit milestone

Erin Keever

Last year was good for CEOs in Charlotte. An analysis by the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter found for the first time most of the largest companies’ CEOs, 15 out of 25, received pay packages of more than $10 million.

Joining me now for more is the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter's Tony Mecia for our segment BizWorthy.

Marshall Terry: So why is pay going up and just who are some of these CEOs?

Tony Mecia: Yeah, Marshall, the argument for these large pay packages is that the CEOs of large publicly traded companies are managing very large operations, worldwide operations that do billions of dollars in revenue, have thousands of thousands of employees. And so, that takes a special skill set. So, you have some very large pay packages. We found that in the Charlotte area, the largest pay package last year was to Driven Brands’ Jonathan Fitzpatrick, they own a number of car care companies. The total pay package was $29.1 million. Second was Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, $28.6 million. The third was Dave Regnery of Trane Technologies, which has its U.S. headquarters in Davidson; It does commercial heat and air conditioning, and Regnery’s pay package was $22.9 million.

Terry: And CEOs aren’t paid like the rest of us, with a paystub and a check every two weeks. What else is in these CEO pay packages besides cash?

Mecia: A lot of it is in stock, but there are other things in there, too — health care, financial, advising, bonuses. And then one of the ones that you know, people focus on a lot is that use of corporate jets. I don't know how much you use your corporate jet, Marshall, but I don't use mine nearly as much. The average pay for most people, non-CEOs, according to government figures, went up 4.4% last year.

Terry: I don’t use the corporate jet as much as I used to. We’ve had to cut back a little bit with that sort of thing. Let’s go now to the Palisades neighborhood near Lake Wylie. It’s been one of the fastest-growing parts of Charlotte, and a couple who lives there is suing their HOA over nearby school construction. What are they seeking?

Mecia: You see these conflicts involving HOAs all over the Charlotte region. This one is a little bit different. You have a couple concerned about some construction and possible expansion at Palisades Episcopal School. They say, in court filings, that they asked their homeowners’ association for some documents related to that, and that the homeowners association and the Palisades have been stonewalling them, not turning that over. So they went to court. They'd like some information on what's going on nearby.

Terry: Sticking with the neighborhood theme for a moment, many pools are opening for the season this weekend. And you report the lifeguard market is strong in Charlotte. Now that’s a change from a few years ago, right?

Mecia: You might recall a few years ago during COVID, there was a lifeguard shortage. Pools had trouble hiring people to come in, mostly teenagers. The pay was maybe not that great. Some pools had to say, you know, put up signs, swim at your own risk. This year, though, happy to report, we checked in with some pools and people who worked in the pool staffing industry. They say the pay for lifeguards has gone up. That's drawing more applicants in to be lifeguards. And so it looks like a lot of pools this summer, as the weather heats up, are gonna be pretty close to fully staffed.

Terry: Finally you report a fair is opening in Mecklenburg County this weekend, but you say it’s not exactly like county fairs people might be used to. How so?

Mecia: Yes, you might have seen ads around town for the Big Mecklenburg County Fair at the Park Expo — starts this Friday, goes for a couple of weekends. It's not a county fair like we often think of county fairs, in terms of having, you know, livestock and agriculture. This is more like a festival or a carnival. We talked to the organizer of it [who’d] said he’d like to add more in the coming years. It's interesting, a lot of people don't know, Mecklenburg County, for a long period of time, did have county fairs up until around the 1980s. Now Mecklenburg doesn't. There's one in Cabarrus County. There's a big one up in Asheville. There's of course the State Fair in Raleigh, but you know, as farmland in Mecklenburg County has shrunk, the demand for a county fair with agriculture has kind of gone by the wayside.

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Marshall came to WFAE after graduating from Appalachian State University, where he worked at the campus radio station and earned a degree in communication. Outside of radio, he loves listening to music and going to see bands - preferably in small, dingy clubs.