Deloitte creates additional European leverage for annual executive pay report

In mid-March, Deloitte concluded a Prime Foundation Partnership with the Executive Remuneration Research Centre. The consultancy firm is thus creating a leverage effect by involving its European network in the executive remuneration figures for 700 European CEOs and CFOs that Professor Xavier Baeten gathers every year. “I hope these Vlerick figures will become the benchmark for all of Deloitte Europe in three years from now”, said Patrick Derthoo (Deloitte.)

Patrick Derthoo (Deloitte)The initial talks on working together on the executive pay report were two years ago. “At Deloitte Belgium, we have been collecting similar figures every year for the CEOs and members of Executive Committees of BEL20 companies”, Patrick Derthoo, Tax Partner at Deloitte, explains. “Knowing how labour-intensive this process is, I have always admired the quality of the report that Xavier and his team produce every year. So I thought: why not join forces? We’ll contribute our European Deloitte network and our client databases to the Vlerick figures. In exchange, our consultants will gain broader perspectives on top salaries at European level, which they will be able to integrate more easily into their talks with clients on this topic thanks to Vlerick’s academic approach.”

Patrick Derthoo, Tax Partner, Deloitte: “Our consultants will gain a broader perspective on top salaries in Europe.”

Openness

Professor Xavier Baeten (Vlerick)“The figures in our executive pay report are based on the remuneration reports of listed companies in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Besides finding out the level of executive remuneration, we also investigate their composition, the correlation between the company’s general performance and the level of executive remuneration, differences between various industries and so on”, Professor Xavier Baeten adds.
“This broader and more reliable perspective is first and foremost a plus for all the companies that are members of our Centre. We discuss trends and results in detail with our members and I am very happy to say that these compensation & benefits managers also communicate very openly with each other about their executive pay strategies. I have made openness a point of honour, by the way, ever since the Centre was set up in 2006.”

Expansion

The database can be significantly expanded thanks to the cooperation with Deloitte. “In the UK, for example, we will include more than just the 100 largest listed companies: we will lower the bar and work with data from 250 companies,” Xavier tells us. “We also want to include more Swedish companies in our report and will also extend our range to Spain and Italy.”

Bottom-up

The database is fed with figures from the remuneration reports, entered under the careful supervision of researcher Said Loyens. Recently a tool was installed that guides the inputter through the data in the remuneration reports, reducing the margin of error even further. Patrick adds: “This bottom-up approach is exemplary for the partnership as a whole, which consists of working together on specific data to offer our stakeholders a reliable and refined benchmark.”

Xavier Baeten, Professor of Management Practice: “By involving the Deloitte network, we have created a real leverage effect, both in terms of breadth and depth.”

The world around us

The Centre has plenty of research topics to concentrate on. Xavier explains: “Our annual benchmark and the nuanced debate associated with it continue to be our main points of reference. We want to create transparency in what is essentially a rather technical matter. At the same time, we are not blind to the world around us. We would like to investigate the composition of executive remuneration in a company that stands for sustainable value creation, for example. How does this differ from “traditional” companies? As a business school, our ambition and task is to fulfil this social role.”

Find out more about the Executive Remuneration Research Centre.