One Larry Got a Load of Benjamins

I want to amend a blog post I made on May 30, "Fear Over Chinese Ownership of Smithfield Foods" ( In that one I threw a quick cheap shot at Continental Grain, which, as a significant stakeholder in Smithfield, had been suggesting a split of the meat company to maximize the value of its investment. That's just greedy, I implied.

In the past week or two, we published a story on food and beverage company CEO salaries (, based on research done by the Hay Group, a global consulting firm, and The Wall Street Journal. Those two looked at executive pay at 300 public companies; we focused only on the food and beverage guys.

Irene Rosenfeld of the new Mondelez led off our list, and Muhtar Kent and Indra Nooyi were close behind. But up there at No. 5 was C. Larry Pope, only the CEO (not chairman, like those three previous names) of Smithfield. Pope's base was "only" $1.1 million, but based on his company's stellar (?) performance last year, he got $11.8 million in bonuses, for a total 2012 take of nearly $12.9 million.

That's more than 7 percent of the company's net income for its fiscal 2013 (which ended this April 28). And don't forget this company lost money as recently as 2009 and 2010.

Imagine what he's getting in the acquisition by Shuanghui International Holdings. You know what Smithfield's 46,000 employees will be getting.

What do you think the CEO of Shuanghui International Holdings makes?